Jeff appears in the video below, giving a moving, effective, must-listen-to speech dedicated to his son, Andrew. I was thrilled to meet the Wilfahrts today, and I can vouch for their immense niceness, bravery, and gigantic hearts.
Via Minnesota's Bluestem Prairie, where you can also find the text to Jeff's speech:
Jeff and Lori Wilfahrt of Rosemount, grew up in New Ulm, the son of Leo and Ruth Wilfahrt, and daughter of Betty Schaefer. They married and lived in Rosemount, where they raised their family, including Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, 31, who died in Afghanistan six weeks ago when an IED exploded.
Jeff Wilfahrt spoke today to a rally sponsored by OutFront Minnesota on the wind-swept steps of the State Capitol in St. Paul as part of the GLBT political advocacy group's yearly Day on the Hill. Andrew Wilfahrt is thought to be the first gay Minnesota soldier to die in the service of his country in the war in Afghanistan.
His sister has said that her brother's sexual orientation was the least interesting thing about him, a remark Jeff Wilfahrt repeated to the crowd today. The elder Wilfahrt's speech, which he read from a statement he prepared, cuts directly to American values and the creation of the American system.
I apologize for the sound quality--at the beginning, the cold April wind carried Wilfahrt's words away. But listen carefully (and the sound gets better as the wind dies down) to a father made a "better human being, a better American, and a better Minnesotan" by the life and death of his beloved son.