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CLHS alumni recognized for accomplishments

May 8, 2018

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Concordia Lutheran High School is honoring its alumni for their accomplishments since graduation.

Steven P. Bercot, 1965
Distinguished Alumnus Award

Steven P. Bercot, vice president of Bercot-Gibson Construction Company, Inc., is being recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award for his achievements since graduation. This award is the highest honor given to a Concordia graduate. It recognizes graduates who have demonstrated an ongoing dedication to Christian principles and the church, with both lifetime and personal achievements.

After graduating from Concordia in 1965, he went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Purdue University in 1969.

In his professional career, he has worked as the President of two heavy construction businesses, Bercot-Gibson Construction Company, Inc., and Bercot, Inc., and a real estate development company, BEHEPE, Inc. He is currently the vice president of both construction companies.

In the community, he has served in leadership positions on the Allen County Re-Development Commission, the Allen County Economic Development Commission, Purdue Club of Fort Wayne, the Friars Club and Mad Anthonys.

He is a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, and he has served on the Board of Property Management as well as co-chairing the 85th anniversary celebration and campaign drive and serving on a committee with True North to help shape the future of the congregation.

In his years since graduation, he has served the Concordia family in numerous ways, including 30 years on the CLHS Board of Directors and two terms as its president; assisting with the Forward in Faith capital campaign from 1994-95; and as the chairman of the Challenge 2001 capital campaign from 1999-2001. His dedication to Concordia has been evident by his time and his passion for the institution.

“Several years after graduating from CLHS, I realized that I wanted to give of my time and serve CLHS in any way that I could to re-pay CLHS for what it had done for me and my life,” he said.

He is married to Lenka, and they have four children, Kelly, Jeff, Carrie and Theo, who are all graduates of CLHS.  

As a Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient, he will speak at Concordia’s commencement on May 27.

Mervin Koehlinger, 1964
Distinguished Service Award

Mervin Koehlinger, a retired Concordia teacher, is being honored with the Distinguished Service Award because of his dedicated support, activity and service to the ministry of CLHS.

He is a 1964 graduate of Concordia who went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering sciences in 1968 from Purdue University and a Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering in 1970, also from Purdue. He later went back to school at Indiana University to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1988.

From 1968 to 1981, he worked as a program analyst for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission where he would do program review and budgeting for advanced nuclear reactor development. The following seven years he was self-employed in grain farming operation. In 1988, he became a physics, chemistry and calculus teacher for Parkway Local Schools. In 1995, he returned to Concordia as a physics and chemistry teacher. He also served as a science department chair, cross country and track coach, and a bus driver. He did this until 2014. He was also the founder and original organizer of Concordia’s annual Middle School Math/Science Night.

He still continues to serve Concordia as a bus driver for field trips and other events as well as a shuttle bus driver. He is also an avid supporter of the institution with his gifts, having established an endowed scholarship in honor of his parents as well as contributing “seed” money to establish the Class of ’64 Endowed Scholarship. He has been recognized for his work many times over and has also chaired two CLHS self-studies for accreditation visits, served as keynote speaker for inaugural IMPACT, and presented breakout sessions at state and national science conferences.

Benjamin Tietz, 2001
Neale M. Shank Award

Benjamin Tietz, a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State, is being recognized with the Neale M. Shank Award. The Neale M. Shank Award, named in honor of an alum who died while serving in Iraq, honors those younger than 40 who have made significant contributions to their given career, community, church or the high school.

Since graduation in 2001, he has held posts all over the world, including Baghdad, Poland, Mexico City, Virginia and Washington, D.C. 

As a foreign service officer, his job varies from implementing immigration law as a consular officer to prioritizing an ambassador’s issue agenda. He has spent a great deal of time setting up management platforms and issues that support the U.S. mission in different countries.

He began his career interning with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Office of U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, and the Association of College and University Housing Officers. He then earned a staff position with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has since worked for three U.S. Embassies in different countries, the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, and now with the Department of State.

During his career, he has been recognized many times over. He has received the Meritorious Honor Award from the Department of State three times, the Graduate of the Last Decade Award from Ball State University, and the Key to the City from Muncie, Indiana.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business and Spanish from Ball State.

Abigail (Eschelbach) Lorenzen, 2009
JROTC Hall of Honor

Abigail (Eschelbach) Lorenzen is the Operations and Media Director for Allen County Right to Life in Fort Wayne, Ind. Before graduating from Concordia in 2009, she served the Corps of Cadets as the Battalion Executive Officer and Recruiting Officer. She graduated from Concordia University-Chicago, Summa Cum Laude, in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and a minor in art. From 2013 to 2014, she served as a Spanish Medical Interpreter and Tutor in Fort Wayne.

She began working for Allen County Right to Life in 2014 and assumed her current role in 2016. While coordinating fundraising events for the organization is fulfilling and necessary, her passion has always been focused in educating. The Life Defenders youth events she coordinates and the time she spends in schools teaching students about fetal development and how to defend the value of human life are where her heart lies. She also enjoys the challenge of developing new programing for the organization. Although Allen County Right to Life has a local focus, the Board of Directors recognizes her gifts to educate students and is pleased to support the opportunities she has to engage with national leaders such as the American Association of ProLife Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Catholica Medical Guild and the Theology of the Body Evangelization Team to create prolife programs for students in the United States and abroad.

Among her professional activities, she has served as a Secretary of the Board of Directors for Generation Renew, is active in her home congregation, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and she volunteers her time teaching ceramics to students at the Allen County Youth Services Center.

She is married to Derek Lorenzen, a 2009 graduate, who is the District Meat and Seafood Coordinator for Kroger. They have a daughter who is due to be born in June 2018.

Concordia Lutheran High School, located at 1601 St. Joe River Drive in Fort Wayne, Ind., was founded in 1935 as a private, co-educational Lutheran high school open to students of all faiths and backgrounds. With Christ at the center, Concordia continues to pursue educational excellence that equips individuals for lifelong learning and service as disciples of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.clhscadets.com.