Ripon native turns tragedy into opportunity to help others

Photo of Shawn Karsten by

Jim Koepnick

All his life, he knew who he was.

He was Shawn Karsten, son of Emmy-award-winning Adrian Karsten.

He also was Shawn Karsten, son of an alcoholic, son of a man who had been sentenced in federal court for tax evasion … but whom Shawn knew was on track to get his life back.

But ever since Sept. 2, 2005, he’d been lost. That was the day his father, his idol, his hero, committed suicide.

And barely more than six months later, Shawn prepared to do the same.

Shawn was about to kill himself, but as far as he was concerned, he’d been dead for quite some time. Months of ravaging his body with drugs and alcohol had put reality at a distance, but done little to numb the pain.

He figured only one thing would do it.

And then his phone rang.

He didn’t know it at the time, but it was a call that not only would give Shawn his life back, but a call that likely would save other lost souls — maybe many.

Finally, Shawn would find meaning in the mindless loss of his hero.

Read the full story in the Oct. 29, 2009 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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