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Nicholas Ross Bechert

Nick Bechert is a lifelong Zionsville resident, a K-12 Zionsville graduate with honors in 2004 as class President. While in high school Nick was on the Football Team (All Academic and All Conference Defensive lineman) as well as the Track Team (shot put). He was a member of the Honor Society and the Economics Club. He counts many of his Zionsville teachers and coaches among his valued mentors.

Following high school, Nick attended Indiana University at Bloomington where he double majored in Political Science and Economics and completed within 3 1/2 years, including a semester in Barcelona, Spain. Nick served along with other IU volunteers in Hurricane Katrina cleanup efforts during his senior year Spring break. Recognitions received during his time at IU include; the Wendell Willkie Scholarship for the IU Department of Political Science, the Economics Achievement Award from the IU Department of Economics and induction into Phi Beta Kappa honorary society.

This nomination is in recognition of his ongoing contributions to Zionsville youth and his selfless outstanding career in global disaster relief work. His educational accomplishments speak for themselves. Obviously he could have entered the corporate world, but he chose to dedicate himself to making a difference in daily lives. As Nick has said many times, he likes being hands on and face to face with those in need. Many Zionsville's young adults know Nick Bechert as their youth intern from Zionsville Presbyterian Church (2008), a Great Escape (youth camp) co-Director, a table leader/ speaker at the annual Zionsville Awakening student retreat, a guest leader for Zionsville Campus Life, and/ or as the co-leader of the annual Zionsville High School Senior trip to Colorado (spiritual hiking adventure founded by Marianne McGriff). All are interactive student mentoring and life coaching situations requiring creativity, focused spirit, high energy and a big heart. He shares the excitement of the students as they summit 14ers emphasizing the importance of the group effort to reach the goal.

Nick's work for Samaritan's Purse, a non-for-profit Christian faith based organization, gives Nick the opportunity to make a global difference. Each assignment is unique including relief work in the refugee camps of war torn South Sudan, assistance to Syrian refugees as they came ashore in Greece, rebuilding villages in Mozambique, Vanuatu, Malawi, and the Philippines in the aftermath of cyclones, floods and hurricanes. He has assisted in the construction and daily operations of mobile hospitals deployed to provide lifesaving medical interventions to casualties of the earthquake in Ecuador and the causalities of ISIS terrorism in Mosul, Iraq. Work of this nature, requires the ability to understand different cultures, traditions, religions, and government regulations in order to be successful. On location, he also works with the World Food Program and other international NGOs (nongovernment organizations) coordinating distribution efforts. He works with the United Nations special forces to ensure the security of his team and the relief efforts they oversee.

Stateside, he serves as a Samaritan's Purse DART (Disaster Assistance Relief Team) instructor. In his spare time Nick hiked the complete Appalachian Trail in 2011, became a certified scuba diver, purchased a home in the Village of Zionsville and has personally undertaken the renovations - a passionate work still in process! Nick is always thankful for opportunities to share his faith in his work and daily life. He is currently awaiting his next assignment!

Nominated by Chris Engel