ORU honors students with Wall of Sacrifice

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 9/19/2012 5:22 pm Published: 9/19/2012 4:11 pm

The campus of Oral Roberts University paused today to remember six people who lost their lives while serving in ministry. 

Four of them died in a plane crash on May 11th in Chanute, Kansas. Austin Anderson, Garrett Coble, Stephen Luth and Luke Sheets were on their way to a ministry event in Iowa when their plane went down. Alexis Brownlee and Jaman Iseminger died in separate events earlier this year.

Right now, the ORU family is grieving their loss and to commemorate them a wall of sacrifice has been placed beneath the praying hands as a tribute.

Tears flowed freely and a bell chimed as each victim’s name was read and flowers were given to their family as a way to say thank you for a life well-lived.

Ian Jones was on the ORU cheer squad with Austin Anderson. He says he will never forget the call that changed his life forever.

"I was at home and I got a call from one of the guys on the cheerleading team telling us the news, and I was really sad. I couldn't believe it,” says Jones.

Although he was badly injured, Austin was able to help pull a woman from the burning plane and save her life.

"He was a marine and had served two tours in Iraq, and he was just a larger than life guy and I would expect nothing less than for him to do the ultimate,” says Austin’s Uncle, Cody Anderson.

Austin’s family is overwhelmed with pride at the thought of him being memorialized in such a way.

"What a privilege to share that life, and just what an honor that other people know that sacrifice,” says Anderson.

As a community grieves its loss, this memorial wall stands tall proudly bearing each of their names for the entire world to see.

"The idea is that sacrifice is on the other side of prayer. When you go around there's a little park we made there, as well as the wall and plenty of room for other names to be added,” says Dr. Mark Rutland, president of ORU.

The university says all of the people that died were committed Christians who had a passion for others. The wall sits right below the praying hands.

Hannah Luce, the only remaining survivor of the plane crash is now out of the hospital and at home recovering from severe burns.

ORU is currently taking nominations for the wall of sacrifice. Nominees must be alumni, former or current students and faculty and staff from 1965 to present who died while serving in ministry.

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