Celebrating the Life of OpenGov Coding Intern Sean Keefer

Delivered by OpenGov Foundation Executive Director Seamus Kraft at a memorial for Sean Keefer on January 24, 2014 at Ames Hall on the George Washington University Mount Vernon Campus.

Every one of us is hurting.  We’ve lost a loyal friend and stellar student.  We’ve lost a talented and joyful teammate just beginning to grasp the gifts he had.  You have lost a big brother, and a son.  I’m so sorry.

Thank you for sharing Sean with us, and for giving me the chance to celebrate his life here with you today.

Sean joined our OpenGov family 4 short months ago.  He stood out from the moment I met him.

“Hello,” he wrote to me not even a week into his first semester.  “I’m a Computer Science student at GWU and I am excited to work with the OpenGov Foundation to create disruptive products. For the past 15 months I worked as a development intern at a Portland startup where I helped build, test and maintain an e-commerce website.  I led a group of interns, developed the internal metrics system from the ground up.  Why should you welcome me into your team?  Because I want to build great products that will change lives.”

Who is this kid? I thought.  How could a 19-year-old be that accomplished, that confident in his abilities, that fired up to help other people?  Either he’s pulling my leg or he’s going to be a rock star.

Sean was a star.  He’d come over one day a week and sit next to me at the dining room table, palpably excited to be coding.  That rubbed off on everyone around him.  It’s not fair that I’ll never again get to sit with him, and see him there smiling, doing what he loved.

Sean, I know you’re watching us from up in heaven.  I miss you, but know we’ll meet again.  Until then…

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

May the rains fall soft upon your fields,

And, until we meet again,

May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.