FORT DODGE, Iowa — The community and members of St. Paul Lutheran Church are mourning the loss of their beloved Pastor.
“He was amazingly special he was the sweetest man he would do anything for anybody,” St. Paul Parishioner Amy Rosalez said.
There is a hole in the Fort Dodge Community tonight after the violent death of Pastor Al Henderson on Wednesday. Henderson was found unconscious outside St. Paul Lutheran Church where he’d served for 20 years, the victim of an apparent assault.
On Thursday, parishioners said they’ll remember him for his compassion.
“He just loved the kids,” says Amy Rosalez, “Every day when I would drop them off for school I’d wait to make sure they got into the door and he’d always be there to meet the kids every morning and shake their hands all crazy or rub their head or pull their stocking cap off and you know just to make them know that he was there for them, he cares about them.”
Fellow church leaders say his lessons of kindness and selflessness spread beyond the walls of his church and St. Paul Lutheran School.
“Pastor Henderson was not just the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran,” says Steve Turner, “In many ways because of his involvement with the police, the firefighters, the sheriff’s department; he was seen as kind of the pastor of this community and had great influence on those outside the walls of St. Paul.”
Even with a suspect in custody, the community says it is still looking for answers.
“I just don’t understand why,” says Rosalez, “If he needed something Pastor would have given him the clothes off his back to help him. He would have helped anyone.”
“He was so special to us. Touched everybody’s hearts,” Rosalez says, “Made an impact on our lives and the community it’s just a huge loss. We just love him and know he is with God now.”