[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]APPLETON — Like many people, Ron Solberg is staunchly pro-life. Unlike most people, he knows exactly when he came to that realization. “My brother was born on (the feast of) Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, 1972. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease,” said Solberg.”
“We were able to bring him home and enjoy him a few weeks. He died at 10 to midnight the evening of Jan. 21. The next morning Roe v. Wade went into action. That was like a seed planted and all through the years, our family prayed for the overturn of abortions or that people wouldn’t have abortions,” he recalled.
While he harbored those convictions in his heart, it wasn’t until 2002 that he decided to act on them and do what he could to combat the culture of death that was overtaking the country. “I said, ‘That’s enough.’ So I went out to the abortion mill in Grand Chute. I said, ‘I’ve got to get my feet wet. I’ve got to see what’s going on.’ It was an eye-opening experience — it was a money-making operation.”
That began years of picketing and praying in front of the Planned Parenthood facility. Solberg has worked full time at SCA Tissue North America for 31 years and he and his wife Betty have eight children. They lost one child through miscarriage who would have been 12 this year. Their seven other children range in age from 25 to 14.
As busy as he is between work and family obligations, Solberg has made pro-life work a mission in his life. Everything is done locally. He never had a chance to go to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. “I hope I never have to,” he admitted. “I hope it’s overturned and it will be a memorial more than anything.”
In 2010, he was nudged from someone at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish who wanted to see if he would take the lead starting a pro-life group at the parish. “I always said I was a better soldier than a general. I felt more at ease that way but I said I’d do it and I’m still doing it. I’m still the lead,” he said.
Sacred Heart’s Whole Life Committee has a mission to raise awareness in all areas relating to the dignity of life, from conception to natural death. “We call it whole life — from the womb to the tomb. You have to look out for the elderly and the infirm and those in compromised health, all those,” noted Solberg.
The Whole Life Committee hosts various fundraisers throughout the year. “There’s the Mother’s Day rose sale, which benefits Wisconsin Right to Life-Fox Valley Chapter. We started a Valentine’s Candy sale. We will usually gift something towards Mother and Unborn Baby Care,” said Solberg. “We use part of that also for funds for anyone from our parish who wants to attend the March for Life. The last couple of years we’ve been doing the candy bar sale for Father’s Day. The candy bars have stickers on them that say things like, ‘Thank You Dad for being pro-life.’”
Several times through the years, Solberg was witness to a baby’s life being saved because of their presence outside the abortion facility. But there were times of discouragement as well. Solberg was convinced of the power of prayer and remembered saying to people, ‘We just don’t know, we might be one rosary away from this place closing. That day is coming.’”
Sure enough, he was right. In April 2016, the Grand Chute abortion facility was permanently closed.
The Whole Life Committee at Sacred Heart has a core group of three dedicated members and Solberg recruits his kids to help in their efforts. They are looking for more people to join them. “I’m the only one in the group not retired. I’m trying to put out things in the bulletin to recruit. The beauty of it is, with the abortion mill closed, you don’t have to go out there.” Most of the work now is helping with fundraisers.
If Roe v. Wade were overturned, the work of the pro-life community will still continue. “It doesn’t end there,” said Solberg. “We have to show these women in crisis pregnancies the resources that are available. There are a ton of them like Womankind and Mother and Unborn Baby Care. A resource, too, is the church. They can point you in that direction so easily and other directions: adoption, maternal health, maternity homes. There’s so much help out there, people don’t realize it.”
Solberg has spent countless hours through the years walking his pro-life talk but it’s been a worthwhile endeavor for him. “I may not know the full reward until my judgment day,” he said. “‘What you do to the least of these, you do to me.’ That’s huge.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]
Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Ron Solberg
Parish: Sacred Heart of Jesus, Appleton
Favorite saint: Blessed Mother
Words to live by: “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.” — Mt 25:40