This special post today honors not a seagoing cowboy, but a person integrally related to Heifer Project history. Jan West Schrock, daughter of Heifer International founder Dan West, slipped away peacefully on March 8, 2023, in Camden, Maine. Jan was one year old when her father conceived of the idea of sending cows to Spain while helping to develop a relief program there during the Spanish Civil War. For the past eight-and-a-half decades, she has been close to Heifer’s development in one way or another – from family involvement, to serving as a Heifer staff member later in life, and vigorously promoting Heifer’s work thereafter these past 20 years.
Growing up in the Church of the Brethren, I always knew about the Heifer Project and Dan West. I attended a youth leaders lab at which he was one of the facilitators when I was in high school, but did not know him well. I became aware of Jan when she served as Director of Brethren Volunteer Service in the latter part of the 20th Century. After I started researching the history of the seagoing cowboys and the Heifer Project in 2002, Jan and I connected at Heifer’s 60th Anniversary celebration honoring the seagoing cowboys in Goshen, Indiana, in 2004.
From that time on, our friendship grew and blossomed. Several times, we did joint presentations together in which Jan would tell her father’s story and I’d pick up the Heifer and seagoing cowboy history from there. We had great fun doing those programs together. Our last was in 2018 when we shared the organization’s history with the Heifer International Board of Directors at Heifer’s Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas.
Jan was a strong supporter of my work, and I shall miss her dearly.
To learn more about this amazing and talented woman, you can read her full obituary here.
Rest in peace, dear friend.
My solidarity with the family of Jan West, Heifer International, Church of the Brethren, and you. I remember her at Little Rock when she talked about her father. She was an inspiration to all.
An inspiration for sure! Thanks, Jesus.
Sorry for your loss Peggy. She sounds like a great person.
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Yes, she always lit up a room. Great energy. Wonderful storyteller.
Thanks, Peggy, for posting this. So nice to read about your history with her. I’ll share it with the family folks and friends whose info I have.
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