I have dreamed of writing my own book since I was in Jr. High. At that time, I had an English teacher who saw my writing potential and believed in me more strongly than nearly anyone else in my life…
The name of NCC Alumnus Robert (Bob) Chitwood is respected and well known in the Midwest and beyond. He has impacted generations for Christ through his ministry as a preacher, singer, counselor, administrator, fundraiser and more. Bob’s ministry spans more than five decades – and he isn’t finished!
Chitwood will always be remembered by many as the lead tenor in the much-loved men’s group called The Watchmen Quartet. The group blessed many rural church revivals, worship services and special events. They still receive requests for recordings of their music, which are available from Good News Records. All of the quartet members, including Bob, also served as evangelists.
“Ken is the man!” That’s what the Pawnee Republican Newspaper said when Ken Fiscus (’91) showed up three years ago at the Pawnee City (NE) Library for a meeting with local organizers, urging them to prepare for the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Fiscus started making plans for the 2017 eclipse five years ago when he became aware that the Pawnee City area would be a prime viewing location.
Ken and his wife, Kelli (’86), traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico to view their first solar eclipse, immediately after Ken’s graduation from Nebraska Christian College in May of 1991. They traveled to Aruba for the 1998 solar eclipse. This past August, Ken brought a busload of 100 people from Minnesota to join approximately 4,000 others who convened in Pawnee City from all over the world at this prime location for experiencing of the 2017 eclipse.
In 2011, Ken and Kelli flew to Washington, D.C., where he was awarded the National Space Educator Award by the National Space Club (NSC), the country’s pre-eminent organization for fostering excellence in space exploration. Each year, the NSC brings together approximately 2,000 of the nation’s leaders in the fields of government, military, aeronautics, and education for their annual black-tie awards banquet. Ken didn’t know what to think of his award until he saw astronauts and national military leaders in attendance, to which he said, “It’s a big honor.”
The Space Educator Award recognizes the importance of secondary school teachers motivating and guiding high school students in the study of and careers in space science and technology. The award included a $1,500 prize, which Fiscus used to promote his Annual Solar System Walk, an event he created to help people understand true distances in space.
Ken has taught Earth and Space Science at Albert Lea Senior High School in Albert Lea, MN, for the past twenty-six years, but he says it feels like only five or six. He’s that passionate about his work! Ken is also very proud of the Albert Lea Build-a-bot Robotics High School team which he helped start.
In 2003 NASA started the Educator Astronaut Program and received approximately 2,000 applicants. Ken and Kelli dedicated themselves to filling out the 22-page application that had 61 pages of instructions! Fiscus was one of 35 finalists, but ultimately was not chosen to go into space.
Ken was born in Pawnee City to Larry and Linda Fiscus (both NCC Alumni). Ken lived in Table Rock for five years while his father pastored at the Church of Christ. Ken’s passion for space and Kelli’s support is evident in the naming of their children; their son Rigel is named after a star, and their daughter is Meridian.
Tony Brandt, Lead Pastor at Central Church of Christ in Griswold, Iowa and a 1986 Alum of Nebraska Christian College, is the new Chair of the NCC Alumni Council for 2017. Tony has been an active member of the council for 3 years under the past leadership of Jerry Beckenhauer. Tony said he accepted the position of Chair because “Jerry deserves a much needed break! But more importantly, because I want to be an active part of encouraging past and future generations of NCC Alumni.”
Tony has a long history with NCC. Last year, while preaching at one of the college chapel services, he said, “I was that seven-year-old who moved to Norfolk, Nebraska for my first introduction to this school. My dad (Carl Brandt) graduated from here in 1976, while my mom also attended classes at Nebraska Christian. They were the first generation of Brandts. Since that time, there have been nine more members of the Brandt family that sat in classes and chapel services at NCC. They include a second generation: myself, two sisters, my brother, and a sister- in-law. The third generation of Brandts to attend NCC are my niece (Nicole), my nephew (Christian), and our two sons, Dillon and Brighton (the most recent).”
Tony and wife Monica have been in Griswold for 5 years where they are currently in the midst of a building project for their growing church and where Tony will be hosting the Iowa Rural and Small Church Conference on Saturday, March 11.
As Nebraska Christian College moves forward in partnership with Hope International University, the Alumni Council has a major support role to fill. Among other projects occurring throughout the year, they are currently making plans for HOMECOMING for Alumni and Friends at NC on Saturday, June 17 (watch for more details). The Alumni Council encourages all alumni to get involved as we work together to help NC students, faculty, and staff fulfill their Kingdom Mission!
If you would like to get in touch with Tony, you can email him at email@example.com.
For additional questions or comments regarding the alumni you can also contact Jane Jech at (641) 751-7591 or firstname.lastname@example.org.