Legatus Names Dayton Couple Pro-life Champions
Steve and Vivian Koob, founders of One More Soul and Elizabeth’s New Life Center, were given the Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-life Award at the Legatus Society’s 25th annual meeting earlier this month. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke and Dan Zeidler were also honored by the international group of Catholic CEOs and business leaders.
Married for 28 years, the Koobs have nine biological and five adopted children, including three special-needs children. Both Steve and Vivian have volunteered for years for many prolife causes, including serving as sidewalk counselors in front of abortion clinics.
After two unsuccessful candidacies for the Ohio House of Representatives in opposition to pro-abortion candidates, Steve Koob founded One More Soul, a clearinghouse for information on the importance of children, the harms of contraception, and the benefits of natural family planning. Steve also co-founded with the first of what is now a network of pregnancy centers with Vivian, who worked helping disabled people for many years with the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation.
After beginning Elizabeth’s New Life Center in 1989, Vivian helped grow the organization into one of the largest of its kind in the country, one that currently operates six women’s centers serving Dayton and Southwestern Ohio. It provides thousands of clients with free pregnancy tests, ultrasound scans, prenatal vitamins, health information, life skills education, material assistance and spiritual support. The center also offers prenatal care, abstinence education in schools, and marriage education to promote two-parent homes.
The Koobs have served on their parish (Corpus Christi) Respect Life Committee, and Vivian serves on the Archdiocese’s Child Protection Review Board. The couple says their efforts have helped many people throughout the region and around the world. “Thousands of babies’ lives have been saved and thousands of families have been helped through our many programs” at the Elizabeth New Life Center, Vivian says, while Steve adds that One More Soul has had international impact.
“My beginning One More Soul with Mary Ann Walsh 18 years ago has made life changing (and life creation) information for countless couples,” he says. “Most of this information is available world-wide via the internet,” so it’s impossible to know how many people have benefitted.
After their years of pro-life service, the Koobs say they are not discouraged that their work is still necessary. “We have made great progress in building a culture of life on many fronts,” Vivian says. “Every life we save, every person we educate or bring to Christ is a life improved or a little one allowed to live.”
Steve agrees, and encourages people to keep fighting for life. “Today, the breadth and depth of the pro-life movement is enormous compared to 1973 when the Supreme Court legalized abortion throughout the nation,” he says. “The movement is much more than ‘anti-abortion.’ and unfortunately the anti-life procedures and philosophies have also increased.
“The current threats to religious freedom and conscience rights for insurers, health care providers, and individuals is mobilizing the Church and the country to restore those freedoms that are written in our hearts, our Catechism and our Constitution: Life, Liberty, and Religious Freedom. I believe that I am doing what God has called me to do, and I do as much as I can subject to limits of energy and time.”
Legatus celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Feb. 2-4 conference in Naples, FL. Speakers included President George W. Bush, Catholic Relief Services CEO Carolyn Woo, Catholic League director William Donohue, Fr. George Rutler, and EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo. The only organization in the world for top Catholic business leaders and their spouses, Legatus is dedicated to helping members live out their faith in the marketplace and balance the responsibilities of faith, family, business and community. It has more than 50 chapters in the United States.