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In Memory of Benjamin William Zirzow

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

FOYA with deep sadness shares the news on the passing of Benjamin Zirzow.

Ben joined FOYA in 2015, as an Otterbein student for a long term work in Uganda. Friends from FOYA share some memories of Ben.

By Esha Scott (FOYA team member 2014)

Yesterday we got to celebrate your life Ben ZirZow. We got to meet some of your closest friends and family. We got to see all the people who loved you, all the lives you touched, the village you created from the heart of gold you freely shared.

When I knew you, you were wild eyed with joy, jumping on every opportunity to know every person we crossed paths with in Uganda. Our phrase this trip was often “Where’s Ben” and we’d find you in some corner of the village listening to the stories of the people, feeling solutions and possibilities that ignited your heart to explore, to dream, to know there was something inside you that was saying “I can do that, let me help, let me share the load, let me hold this with you”. You created the spaces to belong, to be heard, to come together. You are a walking village.

This is how we remember you. Backwards hat, cut off sleeves, arms up, smile bright. There’s no amount of darkness and hard times that can shadow the bright light you are. Though everyone who knows you I’m sure will always ask, what else could we have done, your passing is still you creating, still you connecting us all together, reminding us to remind ourselves that people matter, that what we feel matters, that receiving your village is not always easy no matter how large and how willing they are to support and face whatever challenges are in your heart.

Even the strongest of us have hearts that are fragile, and hearts that teach us the hardest and deepest lessons about what it is to be human. To go beyond the places we’re told not to reach, to do impossible things, to love fiercely and feel deeply. As I knew you, you always went beyond the points, always pushed past the limits to see for yourself what wonders were on the other side.

I wish I could have known more of you, shared more of your stories, your smiles, your dreams. And I’m grateful for the time we had, the way I got to see you in your space of belonging, in accessing that piece of you that felt true on a level words can’t describe.

Thank you for who you are, for the global impacts you made. You are honored by many, your impact crossed the world, and we pray for your eternal peace and that you are taking the rest that a strong heart deserves

By Esha Scott (FOYA team member 2014)

What can members do?

We want to continue the legacy of the work Ben had in Uganda and in America. Please share your memories of Ben.

Thank you, Ben for the work you did to make a change in the World.

Rest in Peace

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