Living by Faith Outside the Comfort Zone: Joel Herzog

By: Kendra Housel

At the age of 39, Joel Herzog found himself going back to school, surrounded by others who were about a decade younger than he was.

He originally came to Indiana Wesleyan University to complete his associate’s degree, and then he went on and to get his bachelor’s degree in management in 2010.

His time at IWU was quite unique. Herzog, returning to higher education and balancing that with his family life, found himself at one point stuck with the problem of needing to do homework, but already being committed to taking his daughter to a concert.

He jokes that he was the only person at the Jonas Brothers Concert reading the Bible.

Herzog chose to attend IWU both for its community and the proximity to his home in West Chester.

Though he was considerably older than his fellow students, which was difficult at times, he enjoyed his time and thrived in a learning environment which emphasized personal attention between professors and students.

Today, Herzog is the Chief of Police at the West Chester police station. It is a larger agency than most, where they will soon have 90 officers on staff.

He works often in the behind-the-scenes duties as Chief, so his days either look very routine, (planning meetings, looking at requests, setting goals, etc.) or they are incredibly difficult (discerning the next appropriate move in a hostage situation).

This, Herzog said, is why his faith is so essential, and why he is so thankful for his time at IWU.

Before coming to IWU, Herzog was raised Catholic, but had not gone to church faithfully for many years.

Through his professors showing him how everything ties back to God, Herzog began attending a nondenominational church constantly and recognized the importance of following Jesus faithfully.

His faith now informs everything he does, both in his personal life and in his job as Chief. He finds that it is important to pray for and with his officers and members of the community.

He has also taken hold of the unique opportunity he found in the West Chester department. When he began, two officers were ordained ministers, and the number has increased to four.

These chaplains are always available to the officers to help them process their spiritual well-being on the job, which in some places can be taboo. However, Herzog says spiritual well-being is just as important as physical well-being.

With a faith that he says has given him a greater vision and more compassion, Herzog has prioritized community engagement with his unit. He wants the community to know his men by their first names and as people, not only as officers.

Herzog stresses how important it is to get out of your comfort zone and to be around people who are not exactly like you. For his men, this not only opens their eyes to different people’s stories and life styles, but it also helps to continue to show communities that police officers are just normal people.

In his pursuit of community connection, Herzog likes to take his wife and visit a new church on some Sundays.

The first time he did this was a very special occasion and it left a lasting impact.

In July 2016, at the height of tension between African American communities and police officers, five officers were shot in Dallas, Texas.

Herzog did the only thing he could think to do: he donned his uniform and took his wife to a predominantly black church that Sunday morning. What happened there was a work of God: amazing love and embracing between the parties that he struggled to describe in a way that would fully honor the memory.

Herzog looks back at that experience as a powerful time, where a bond was built with members of that church family that last to today, because of the great compassion and understanding they shared in such a tumultuous time.

When asked what additional words of wisdom he had for current IWU students, Herzog shared the words he shares with his officers: “If something is important to you – sports, education, marriage, parenting – don’t train until you can get it right … train until you can’t get it wrong. Stick with it; life doesn’t always give you a second shot. Take what you got, work for what you got and fight for what you got.”

Watch the video from the Homecoming Celebration honoring Col. Joel Herzog!

Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Kendra is a junior Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. Kendra is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

Indiana Arthritis Foundation: Terri Miller

By: Dezaray Barr

Terri Miller at her graduation at IWU

Terri Miller graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and in 2015 with her MBA in accounting. Her father was a student at IWU. “His discussions of classes peaked my interest,” Miller said. “I figured that if he can attend school and manage his company, I could go back to school as well. Additionally, I was at a crossroads in my adult life as I was a recently divorced single mom that was working full-time. I wanted to go back to school to show my son that anything is possible.”

Miller’s time at IWU was exciting, she said. “I enjoyed the challenge of the classes and meeting new colleagues. My time at IWU also assisted me in managing my time as I worked full-time while a student.” Miller continued, “I also believe IWU enhanced my spirituality. I enjoyed the religious studies in my undergrad. I really liked how IWU incorporated spirituality into the studies, especially the business classes.”

Miller is now a compliance manager at OneAmerica. She has been employed with OneAmerica for over 15 years, including during her studies at IWU. “My time at IWU assisted me in my professional life in many ways,” Miller explained. “The group projects that I completed at IWU assisted me in working collaboratively with others. Additionally, by balancing full-time work and college, IWU enhanced my organizational and time management skills.”

Miller is also a member of Tri Kappa, and she is active in her community as well. She was the president of her son’s school’s PTO. She also has rheumatoid arthritis and is on the board of directors for the Indiana Arthritis Foundation. Last December she was the honoree for the Indianapolis Jingle Bell Run.

Terri Miller and her son

“Trying to complete school with a family and working full-time is challenging, but you can do it!” Miller encourages current and potential IWU students. “Keep working hard and communicate with your group members and faculty when you experience issues. They are there to help.”

The Arthritis Foundation is excited to announce that Terri Miller, OAS Compliance Manager at OneAmerica, has joined the Arthritis Foundation Leadership Board in Indiana.

“We are excited to have Terri join our board,” said Ashley Craig, Arthritis Foundation Executive Director. “She has a personal tie to arthritis. She will serve as our state advocacy chair.”

Miller has been involved with the Arthritis Foundation since 2015 and was an honoree for the Jingle Bell Run in 2017. In her new position, she will focus on advocacy efforts for Indiana. People with arthritis face unique barriers, including high costs of treatment, difficulty accessing medications and the scarcity of specialists. Miller will work with a group of more than 2,300 advocates in Indiana to share stories to legislators to make sure that those with arthritis have access to the best medicine, healthcare and research possible.

“Rheumatiod Arthritis (RA) may stink, but I am not going to let it bring me down,” Miller explained. “My hope is to turn the negativity of RA into a positive one through teaching, advocacy and philanthropy. I want to help others that have this disease and spread awareness for all arthritis conditions! We are not in this alone, and through the Arthritis Foundation, I can share my story and advocate for the arthritis community.”



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at

Comedian & Illusionist Larry Wirtz

By: Dezaray Barr

Larry Wirtz

Larry Wirtz graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2012 with a master’s degree in Ministry and Leadership. He graduated from Wesley Seminary in 2015, and he’s currently entering the dissertation phase of his Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership at IWU.

After graduating high school, Wirtz took a few classes from Purdue University, but he began performing full-time magic and comedy. “As scripture reminds us ‘the heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, the ears of the wise seek it out’ (Proverbs 18:15 – NIV),” Wirtz shared. “Lifelong learning is more than a good idea, as for me, it has been a way of life. In my early twenties, I had the privilege of attending the historic Chavez College of Magic. Upon graduation, I was extended an invitation into their advanced ‘post-graduate’ course of study.”

Throughout his studies at Chavez, Wirtz still maintained a full performing calendar, but there was always a desire in him to finish a traditional college degree. “While leaning on the excuse of not having the time, I prayed to God that if it is in His plan, I would obey,” Wirtz said. “That being said, a quarter of a century later, God (in His remarkable way) removed all obstacles and objections and created the opportunity for me to pursue a higher education. As for location – I was already familiar with Indiana Wesleyan University as I had performed and spoke multiple times at Phillippe Performing Arts Center for various conferences that hosted their event on IWU’s campus. The culture and spiritual belief structure of IWU became familiar, encouraging and inviting. I am not saying going back to school as a non-traditional adult learner was void of challenges or hard work, but He has created the opportunity for me to receive additional training for His purpose.”

As a non-traditional adult student at IWU, Wirtz experience began completely online. “Building cohort relationship via the internet was a new experience. The Master’s program began on campus where personal introductions between cohort members, professors and support staff were made. This made the whole experience more personable. The Ph.D. program involves on campus experience along with on-line sessions. This has been the most personable experience as relationship have been built between cohort members as well as IWU staff as they have become a secondary family and support network,” he explained.

Wirtz’s live performance

Now (and since the 1980’s), Wirtz works full-time as an inspiration speaker, comedian and illusionist. He explained, “I have a multi-faceted, non-traditional career that allows me to live an unplugged life. I work as an educational specialist who has presented curriculum based convocations in over 10,000 elementary, middle and high schools across the United States and Canada. As each experience reflects a various season in my life, God has taken my secular performing magic and comedy as well as my speaking experience and works continuously to transform it for His purpose. In this chapter of my life, I have found a home working with churches and faith-based organizations. Whether it is speaking, preaching or entertaining to consulting (coaching) from a Christian perspective on leadership issues and church growth, it is humbling that God is using me to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in a needy world.”

Wirtz during his live performance

If Wirtz could share some wisdom with current IWU students, he’d tell them to stay in the boat. “The idea of taking a break may seem inviting, but creates greater challenges along the way towards the completion of your degree. Regardless of external events or academic difficulties, do your best to push through to the best of your ability, ask for help and keep Christ at the center of your studies while working towards completion of your degree,” he said. “Second, if given the option of receiving your diploma via mail or walking across the stage at graduation, I encourage you to walk. It is the culminating experience of finality of your hard work. Also, walking serves as a positive experience to those that served as your support system in your academic adventure. Your accomplishment is as meaningful to them as it is to you.”

Wirtz and his wife, Linda, have three children. Andrew is 27 and graduated from Purdue University. He is newly married and living in Alabama. Lawrence is in the tenth grade, and David is in eighth grade.



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at

Deputy Grant Langebartels

By: Kendra Housel

Grant Langebartels graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in December of 2014, receiving his undergraduate degree in physical education. He came to Indiana Wesleyan as a non-traditional, married, commuting, transfer student from IUPUI. He and his wife Laura were living in Indianapolis at the time and as a response to feeling called, took a blind-faith step to move closer to her family.

IWU was the only school offering his degree that was near to their new home. While the transfer was a difficult decision, since it meant adding more time onto his undergraduate degree and potentially paying more to cover tuition, God provided wonderfully. Through Laura getting a job in the IWU Admissions Office, her employee benefits meant that his tuition costs ended up being about the same as if he finished his degree at IUPUI. Langebartels was also thankful that his education included the benefits from a Christian college education.

When he came from a much larger campus, to a small university, Langebartels noticed right away that the professors really cared about their students as people, and he felt they wanted to get to know him as a person. Langebartels said that being at IWU and taking the gen-ed classes really helped him gain a better understanding of how the Bible fits in with the rest of history. He specifically mentioned appreciating the things he learned in Old Testament, New Testament and Philosophy. According to him, they gave him “an opportunity to view the Bible differently.”

Upon graduating with a teaching degree, his wife became pregnant with twins, and they decided that it was more advantageous for them to stay near family, which meant they would not simply be moving wherever there was job availability in education. Instead, Langebartels ended up accepting a job as a Deputy for the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, and he is also a part time Campus Police Officer at IWU. While he is not working in education, he said that what he is doing now is “a really good fit for [him].” He also mentioned that he feels having a degree in general helped him to be marketable to potential employers. He said, “IWU has a good reputation in the community and so having that on my resume helped me kick off my career, and could possibly help with future promotions.”

When asked about how his spiritual life comes into play in his career, Langebartels had much to say. He often encounters people in the midst of some of their worst moments in life. Many of these people do not know Jesus or have any concern with Christianity in general. He is thankful for the opportunity to be there, even in small ways, for them. He prays often that through his service, God would reveal Himself to the people he meets. Langebartels said that he feels God has placed a calling on his life to “be someone who everyday brings a little bit [of] healing.”

Some other, fun-facts about Langebartels include the fact that he participated in a 340 mile canoe race in a 64 hour period, something he would not suggest doing. He also spent some time working for the Indianapolis Colts, a job which came with a lot of unique perks. While meeting players and going to games was wonderful, his favorite aspect was taking home leftover food from fancy events. He also has six brothers and one sister, all of whom are married and have children. With almost seventeen children between the eight of them, he said that “family get-togethers are crazy.”

When asked what advice he has for current students at IWU, Langebartels said “Get to know your community while you are at IWU. Before I came to IWU, I always heard about the ‘IWU bubble.’ While I was a student, I started to notice it more, and now as a person that works in and around IWU I notice it all the time. Find ways to go out and serve; don’t just keep to yourselves at IWU. This is a community that needs good role models for students, young people that can help with service projects, etc. Do what you can while you are here to help. Also, don’t stress out about your school work too much.  I saw/see so many people on campus who get way too worked up about tests, projects, homework, etc. to the point that they don’t enjoy all the other things around them.”



Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the Alumni Center. Kendra is a sophomore Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. She is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

Marion Housing Authority: Steve Sapp

By: Dezaray Barr

Steve Sapp

Steve Sapp graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2010 with his BSM. He was led to attend IWU because of it’s “good reputation, quality program, adult studies program and location.”

Sapp said that his time at IWU was challenging, but rewarding. “I worked full-time, helped raise our son and volunteered extensively at my church,” he explained. “I couldn’t have achieved my education and degree without the flexibility of IWU’s program!”

During his time at IWU, Sapp’s spiritual knowledge and life grew extensively. “Aside from learning more from the Old and New Testament courses than I had previously known being raised in church all my life, my thought patterns were consistently challenged throughout my studies which allowed me to see God in different ways than formerly known and strengthened my foundational beliefs in Him!” Sapp said.

After graduating in December of 2010, Sapp was promoted to Executive Director of Marion Housing Authority. That same month, he and his wife celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Sapp is now the CEO of Marion Housing Authority. “I have the honor of working with great-hearted people that have compassion to make a positive impact in the lives of the people we serve and in our community. To support our main mission of providing housing and housing assistance to low and median-income families in our community, we are now involved in the purchase and redevelopment of commercial properties in downtown Marion, which I believe is making a positive impact and contribution to our city,” Sapp said.

“Going back to college later on life with a full-time job and family, I learned how to work hard and not give up to attain something that was important to me. Things that are worth having or not usually given to you. It takes hard work, dedication and perseverance!” Sapp said.

Sapp’s son is currently a junior at IWU studying business and psychology. Sapp would encourage current IWU students to persevere! “Life will always be challenging regardless of what path you choose or find yourself in,” he said. “Not forsaking your faith in the Lord, He will always work all of your efforts and circumstances for your good if you continue to seek Him! Your true reward is not in the receipt of material things, but it’s a faith and character that has grown and drawn you closer to Christ.”



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at

Accounting Spotlight: Amy Rohr

By: Kendra Housel

Amy Rohr

Amy Rohr graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University’s (IWU) adult program in December of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. When she first began searching for a way to earn her undergraduate degree, she was looking for a college in Fort Wayne, Indiana where she could take evening classes, geared towards adult students. After speaking with several colleges, and noting how easy IWU was to work with, she made her choice and enrolled in the accounting program.

Rohr says that she greatly enjoyed her time as a student of Indiana Wesleyan. She especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people and get to know more about herself. IWU was also a part of giving her the push she needed to dig deeper, not only professionally but also spiritually. Through her religion courses, and peer engagement, God began to change her outlook. She had been sitting in the midst of a difficult season of life spiritually, and she says that “attending IWU was just what [she] needed.”

While her dream had been to obtain her undergraduate degree as a traditional student after high school, Rohr is glad she waited until her children were grown up. The opportunity to attend IWU came at the perfect time, and she felt that the “doors just opened so easily.” She knew that it was the next step that God wanted her to take, and she loves that she was able to attain her dream.

Currently, Rohr works at Franklin Electric Company Incorporated in Fort Wayne as a Senior Corporate Accountant. She just recently celebrated her fifteenth anniversary as a Franklin employee.

Rohr and her family

Her walk with Jesus has a large impact on how she goes about her job as well. Her coworkers are aware that she loves the Lord, and she has a vibrant ministry in praying for them. She carries a prayer journal to document the needs of her coworkers and their families. She always lets them know when she has been praying for them, and she finds that people are surprised and touched to hear confirmation that someone has actually been praying for them, rather than simply saying that they will. Rohr deeply cares about those she works with. One of the best parts of her job is that her coworkers often confide in her to receive encouragement and love.

Later this year, Rohr will celebrate 29 years of marriage with her husband. They have two grown daughters and one granddaughter. Rohr also said that she loves animals and children. This passion has taken root in the way she has served as a Sunday School Teacher for more than 20 years. She is so thankful for the many children she has gotten to know in her classroom.

When asked what advice she had for current IWU students, Rohr said, “Don’t lose sight of your dreams.” She encouraged students that even though the fulfillment of her dreams took longer than she would have expected, she would not trade how it went for the world.



Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the Alumni Center. Kendra is a sophomore Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. She is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

Master’s Degree in Management: George Middleton

By: Kendra Housel

George Middleton, photo obtained from Facebook

George Middleton is a 1987 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University’s masters program, where he earned his M.S. in management. He had been working for American Electric Power in Fort Wayne, Indiana as a Human Resource professional, when he heard about their education assistance program. Through that, Middleton decided to pursue his graduate work at IWU. Through this adult learning program, he got to pursue higher education in an experience that Middleton said “put together like-minded and motivated people of exceptional talent and drive.”

Middleton felt that IWU was the perfect fit for him in pursuing his education, not only for the convenience, but because there was a priority in emphasizing spiritual growth, along with academic growth. As a Music Minister, he appreciated the way education was paired with a spirit of love, compassion and teamwork. Middleton currently works in the mental health field, dividing his time between his roles as an author, therapist and mentor.  He consistently fuses together his passions for music and psychology to create innovative therapy programs. His time at IWU, he feels, “set the tone for not being afraid to think above the ‘status quo,’ to be more focused more on [relevance] and effectiveness, and less on traditional ways for the sake of tradition only.” Also important to him is the way IWU prepared him to carry on a lifestyle of learning; a flexible mind is one of the most valuable things he developed during his graduate work.

His spiritual life is a large part of his career in the attitude he approaches everything with. He maintains an attitude of humility and empathy as he engages with his clients. Through the techniques he uses, Middleton directs the clients towards an ability to make their own effective and healthy life choices, which is the goal of therapy in and of itself. Middleton must put himself aside, and think always of the good of the client, which is a direct result of his spiritual walk. The most spiritually engaging portion of his work is the time he spends in racial healing. He presents many workshops which address racial beliefs from the lens of mental health. Through these talks, he raises awareness about the harmful behaviors and consequences one may inflict upon themselves and their community based upon their underlying belief systems about race.

Before pursuing his graduate work, Middleton spent lots of time in some very unique professions, including time as an over-the-road truck driver, a high-line transmission tower mechanic and a professional firefighter. His career as a firefighter ended when he was seriously injured, which actually resulted in him and his brother being featured in an issue of Life Magazine. He is also a skilled and versatile musician. Middleton has produced three jazz music projects, in smooth jazz, gospel jazz and holiday jazz. You can view his music at Finally, Middleton’s advice to current IWU students is this: “Do what you love so that you will love what you do.”



Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the Alumni Center. Kendra is a sophomore Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. She is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

David Liebel – Volunteer Initiatives and Prison Ministry

By: Kendra Housel

David Liebel graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2002 with a bachelor degree in management. His time as a undergrad student was incredibly busy, because he was a full time student and also worked full time. He completed his degree through IWU’s online program. This specific, adult online program is what drew Liebel to IWU, considering the university had emerged as a leader in degree completion programs.

D-Liebel3Though he never stepped a foot on the residential campus in Marion until his graduation ceremony, Liebel greatly enjoyed and grew from his time as a university student. As he had just returned to the states from ministry work over in England, Liebel appreciated that IWU’s online management program was not composed solely of Christians, which gave him (as well as his peers) the opportunity to apply their faith to a more traditionally secular environment. He greatly valued the diverse student body he met and learned alongside.

Liebel stands by his decision to complete his degree at IWU, saying that his degree in management was a great fit for his current career. The skills he learned, specifically in organization, accounting and human resources, are things he uses everyday.

When asked about his favorite class, Liebel couldn’t pinpoint just one. Liebel said that the strength of the degree program is not in a specific class, but in “the sum of things as opposed to the parts.” He also mentioned how much he appreciated learning from professors who currently or previously earned a living in their field.

Before coming to IWU, Liebel worked for Youth of the Mission and helped pastor Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. After finishing his degree in 2007, Liebel began the work he is currently invested in: working for the Indiana Department of Correction as the Director of Religious and Volunteer Services. He works with chaplains and volunteers to organize and run events within the prison system.

Liebel values the unique experience he gets as he serves in the nation’s government. He feels as if he is a bridge between the often polarized worlds of faith and government. He has a rare understanding of the inner workings of “both worlds,” so he is able to see the rules and limitations that come in varied work environments. Most recently, Liebel is excited that thirteen Indiana prisons hosted the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. This was a special opportunity open to all prisoners to attend a conference that has the opportunity to enable the prisoners and staff alike to grow in compassion, conviction and faith.

Through all the opportunities and experiences he has encountered, Liebel has accumulated lots of wisdom. To students, he gives a piece of advice: pay attention, make the most of your time and go wherever you get the chance to go. He also passes on this advice, to students and peers alike; Liebel said “Do stupid things. Do dangerous things. Don’t do anything that’s dangerous and stupid.”


Written by Kendra Housel, a writer for the Alumni Center. Kendra is a sophomore Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. She is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing, and caring for others.