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Jonathan Cadavero


The Bible’s chapter 6, verse 45 of Luke says, “A good person brings good things out of the treasury of good things in his heart”. Sergeant Jonathan Cadavero was this living Bible verse. Jonathan was the son of the superintendent of the Greater New York Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Jonathan Cadavero attended the Waldwick Seventh-day Adventist School in Waldwick, N.J. In 2000 he followed his sister to Columbia Union College, a small, private, four-year, Christian college affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Takoma Park. While Jon was a senior at Columbia Union College which is now Washington Adventist University, he worked the registers at Barnes and Noble bookstore near the White House.

Paul Wolfawitz, Assistant Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld engaged him in conversation, was so impressed with Jon that he later invited Jon for a private tour of the Pentagon.

On November 15, 2009, the gymnasium at Waldwick Seventh-Day Adventist Academy was renamed the SGT Jonathan D. Cadavero Memorial Gymnasium. These exceptional events demonstrated that those around Sergeant Cadavero not only recognized, but publically honored the good that was Jonathan Cadavero.

Army Sergeant Jonathan Cadavero died on February 27, 2007 as he supported Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jon was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y. He died in Baghdad of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Two other soldiers also perished. Jon was twenty-four years old.

He was a Combat Medic with six months in country. He had married just three months before a fellow medic who was assigned at his location. Michelle Heiter Cadavero, married Jon in November 2006. She is now a widow at 19. “I am honored to have served next to him as a soldier, as his wife and as his best friend,” she said.

Friends and family and Cadavero’s 10th Mountain Division saw many sides of Jon. They saw a Leader, a Patiot, a Bro, an Inspiration, and a life worth emulating. Jon cherished underlined Bible passages, and was proud of his Ukranian grandparents who found refuge in the America he stood for. He had slogans such as “Never Say Die” remembers by college basketball teammate and roommate. His sister Kristia would say his favorite saying was “Evil prevails when good men do nothing.”

Jon was a born-and-bred New Yorker, who came to be a Maryland resident. Maryland, according to his sister in Chevy Chase, Maryland, who said his very last words to her were: ‘I have no regrets. I would do it all over again,’ and ‘I love being an American soldier,’

A final prayer was spoken, a final hymn sung. The bell tolled 24 times. The honor guard carried the flag-covered coffin back to the salutes and flags outside and into the hearse. People gathered at the church steps to watch.

Michelle Cadavero sat with her hands on her knees and was composed. A chaplain saluted Cadavero’s coffin and said “stand down.” Then she put her head down and put one hand to her face.


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