Ben ’02 and Dierdre (Harder) ’01 Shetler and their three children. Photo by Cara Chubb.
by Ben Shetler ’02
Reflecting on my time at Hesston, there were a lot of factors that made it such an important period in my life. Coming from a public high school in a large city, I really enjoyed being a part of a small faith-centered campus community. I learned and practiced the fundamental skills for my career as a pilot. There are also small details I still remember, like how much I loved watching the tulips push through the brown earth in the spring. Most importantly though, I read, studied and engaged with fellow students and faculty on topics that helped shape my worldview and theology. Being an Anabaptist Mennonite was no longer just how I had been raised, it was something I studied, learned to love and claimed as my own. Those values have continually shaped the way I move through and engage the world around me. When I returned to Phoenix after my time at Hesston, there was no question in my mind that I was not only going to continue to participate in my home congregation, but also in the wider church.
I choose to give to Hesston out of gratitude. Gratitude for all the conversations, the community I felt, the things I learned, the career path I set out on, the faith that became my own. I choose to give so that unique Hesston Experience can continue to be shared and available to as many young people as possible.
I hope that Hesston College continues to evolve in ways that keep it relevant, while holding close the values that make it such a unique and special place.