Catholic school graduates use faith serving in military
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
Jan. 24, 2008
Graduates of Catholic schools in the diocese are using what they learned
while serving in the military.
Benjamin Selzer finished sixth grade at Sacred Heart School in Spencer in
1990. He has been in the Army for over seven years as an Aviator. He is
currently serving in Balad, Iraq and has been there for a little over six
months. He said the plan is for him to return to the U.S. in the fall. He
pointed out that he received a high quality and comprehensive education at
"Attending the only private school in Spencer, my experiences from
Sacred Heart taught me that it is alright to not conform to the status
quo," said Selzer. "In fact, I learned it is better to experience
diversity in order to develop a more well-rounded perspective. Catholic
education allows religious exploration not normally accepted in public schools,
which helps to develop that well-roundedness. Leading in the military sometimes
requires breaking the status quo in order to improve one's organization. I
gained some of my bravery to lead from my experiences at Sacred Heart." He
commented that Catholic school graduates should have a solid moral base to draw
upon when making decisions.
"They understand the value of our relationships and treat each other
according to the Golden Rule," said Selzer. "The military benefits
from those who can treat others with respect and draw upon their moral base when
making difficult decisions." After graduating high school, he attended St.
John's University, a Catholic college in Minnesota, expecting a quality
education similar to the comparative level of Sacred Heart.
"I may not be in the military today if I hadn't attended Sacred
Heart," said Selzer. "Because the tuition was relatively high (at St.
John's), I joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) to help with the
bills. After graduating from St. John's, I was commissioned in the Army and have
served over seven years."
Jason Kinney is a 2002 graduate of Gehlen Catholic High School in LeMars and
has been in the Iowa Army National Guard for over three years. He participates
in drill in Le Mars, but is currently serving at Camp Victory in Bagdad, Iraq.
He arrived in Iraq on Sept. 6, 2007 and is expecting to be home in mid- to
late-April of this year. Kinney said his Catholic education has helped give him
"a bigger picture of things."
"On Sept. 11 there was a rocket that landed and blew up about 20 meters
from where I was," he said. "I walked away with a mild concussion when
I could have and probably should have been hurt a lot worse. Everyone said that
someone was looking out for me and they were right. Since then I have witnessed
other close calls with not only myself but other soldiers as well as that has
shown that God is looking out for us."
Jason mentioned that his Catholic education has helped him perform his duties
better because he knows that God is watching out for him and his friends.
"Thank you to everyone for their prayers and well wishes," he said.