The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Journey for a missing friend

Tracy Hellman’s shirt—and the Seattle
Tracy Hellman’s shirt—and the Seattle Marathon he ran—honor Jon Francis, his former student. Francis disappeared in July while climbing the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho.
When David and Linda Francis were retrieving their son Jon’s belongings in Ogden, Utah, they came across his registration for the Seattle Marathon. Jon, assistant summer program director at Luther Heights Bible Camp in Shoshone, Idaho, and youth director of Ascension Lutheran Church in Ogden, disappeared July 15 after climbing Grand Mogul peak in the Sawtooth Mountains.

His body has not been found, although a search will resume in the spring (www.jonfrancis.org).

The family decided to ask Tracy Hellman, Jon’s cross-country coach at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D., to run for Jon. The Stillwater, Minn., athlete was Hellman’s first recruit as head coach. Organizers of the November marathon gave Hellman his former runner’s registration number.

“I tried to picture him running in the marathon,” Hellman told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “The last five miles of the race there were some huge hills to deal with. I know Jon’s goal was to break three hours, so it was my goal too. I glanced down at the picture and it gave me the motivation to keep pushing.” He finished in 2:54.19.


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February issue


Embracing diversity