Chaplain Randy Heckert received the Dana Walling Award for Excellence in Campus Ministries at a conference for campus ministry directors in Monterey Beach, California on Feb 18. The award was given to him by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).
In 2003, The Dana Walling award was founded by the CCCU in honor of Dana Walling, who was a member in the Council’s Commission for Campus Ministry Directors.
In Walling’s name, the Council chooses a pastor each year who models thoughtful, reliable and consistent work in campus ministries while facing adversity.
Receiving the award surprised Heckert.
“Overwhelmed is the word that comes to mind,” Heckert said. “I am honored and thankful for my teammates and staff.”
Having been working for Malone University for 15 years, Heckert couldn’t stress how much he enjoys working with such wonderful people.
“Working with my teammates makes it fun to work here,” Heckert said.
Being surprised and unaware of receiving this award, Heckert didn’t know the significance of the Dana Walling Award until after he received it.
“I remember something very clearly from August 2010 when Randy told me he had cancer,” Director of Campus Ministries Linda Leon said. “Did he complain? No. Did he wallow in self-pity? No. Did anxiety swallow him up? No.”
“What he told me was, ‘Now it’s my turn to see what God has to teach me,'” Leon said. “This about sums up Randy. I have appreciated working with him over the last 15 years because he models the ways in which commitment to the spiritual disciplines should saturate our everyday living.”
“I always look forward to when Pastor Randy speaks in chapel,” Carrie Hayworth, resident adviser of Blossom three south said. “I remember what he preaches on and I always try to apply it to my life.”
Hayworth only spoke highly of Heckert and his team. Before the semester began, Hayworth explained how the RAs go over to Heckert’s house.
“Pastor Randy couldn’t be more opening and willing to talk with us,” she said. “He is always encouraging and helping us through our excitements and nervousness.”
Heckert overcame esophageal cancer and maintained excellence in campus ministries.
He is currently getting check-ups every three months. Even though Heckert struggles with new eating habits due to treatments, he still loves to come to work every day.
Cindy Netti is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.