Peace Corps volunteer from IM dies in crash in Togo


WASHINGTON — An Iron Mountain man who worked with the Peace Corps was killed Tuesday in an automobile accident in the west African nation of Togo.

The death of Jonathan Mitchell, 25, was confirmed Wednesday by Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen.

He had been an environmental volunteer in Togo since May 2017, working what usually is a 24-month assignment that can be extended, the Peace Corps press office said.

According to staff in Togo, Mitchell taught agriculture to middle school students and organized an environmental club. “He not only enabled the students to become aware that they need to protect their environment by preserving trees, but he had also established a permagarden at the school so the students could learn about vegetable gardening,” the Peace Corps statement said. “This activity provided Jon with an opportunity to speak with the students about the importance of balanced nutrition. Many of the students replicated the techniques learned at the school garden with their own family gardens.”

“Jon was a wonderful Peace Corps volunteer,” Olsen said in a news release. “He was passionate about the projects he led, helping to protect the environment and improve food security, and he was dedicated to building strong relationships throughout his community. The entire Peace Corps family is grieving his loss. We send our heartfelt sympathies to Jon’s parents and siblings, and we hope they can find some measure of comfort in knowing how much Jon means to the Peace Corps and to his community.”

Mitchell earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. During his college years, he worked on a farm, taught English in Vietnam and produced instructional videos in Kenya. In his free time, he enjoyed gardening, fishing and photography.

He took pride in coming from a family with a long tradition of service to others — his brother, Benjamin Mitchell, also had been in the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso — and he looked forward to building on that legacy in Togo, according to the Peace Corps.

He is the son of Carol and Daniel Mitchell of Iron Mountain.