Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | September 4, 2014

Gone to soon

In memory of Ben Meinzer, July 23rd, 1996 — August 31, 2014

Sunday August 31st, I got the phone call that no-one ever wants to get, a young person has passed away. Ben was only 18-years old, as a matter of fact he was just barely 18-years old when he went home to God.

We have all heard stories of young people that have lost their battle with different illnesses and have been taken too soon. We’ve all heard stories of young people who were an inspiration to others as they lived with whatever illness, disability or disease. Ben was one of those young men that was an inspiration to many while he lived with Spina Bifida. Ben refused to be defined by his illness or disability. Ben spent most of his life in a wheelchair and in and out of Children’s Hospital. That is not who Ben was. Ben was an incredibly talented musician. He loved playing his guitar. Ben was an amazing athlete who tore up the basketball court as he played for the Milwaukee Heart Wheelchair basketball team.

Ben was also a loyal friend. What I will remember most about Ben is that absolutely nothing deterred him. There wasn’t anything Ben couldn’t do.I knew Ben from the time he was in 6th Grade. I first met him when he was a volunteer for Vacation Bible School. Ben would help with snack, he would help count change that was being collected to buy baby chicks thru the Heifer Project. As time went on I got to know Ben as he attended Christian Formation classes and went on several retreats with his classmates.  Ben always wanted to participate in all the same activities that everyone else did.

In many ways Ben was an inspiration to those around him. He always had a smile on his face, he loved to tell jokes and if you thought you were having a bad day he was always quick to point out that whatever the perceived mountain in someone’s life was, was probably more of a molehill compared to others who were in a hospital bed being treated for some awful illness.

As I mentioned before Ben spent most of his life in a wheelchair. He never had the ability to walk, yet Ben always Walked. Built and Proclaimed by his life and his faith. Ben had a deep faith and trust in God and he wasn’t afraid to share his faith with anyone. He shared his faith as freely and with as much energy and passion as he put into music and basketball.

Ben is certainly gone to soon, but his smile, passion and love of life will live on in the hearts and memories of his family and friends.

Thank You Ben for teaching all of us how to Walk. Build. Proclaim. You were a true inspiration to so many and will be missed on this earth greatly.

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Gary Neal Hansen

Theology. It's good for you.

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