PIQUA — In the Piqua Association of Churches’ (PAC) second year of honoring a member of the Piqua community and a standout person committed to the Christian faith, they have chosen former pastor Don Wagstaff.
“This is all a surprise to me,” said Wagstaff, who pastored at the Piqua Church of the Brethren for 11 years. “It was the last thing I expected.”
“We’re looking for people very active in the community,” Paul Green, president of the PAC, said about the Heroes of Faith Award. “You can’t go into ministry and not affect somebody’s life, and you can tell how … by seeing those people around him.”
Green added that Wagstaff is “always a humble person.”
“Don … amplified everything that we were looking for as a candidate,” Green said.
Wagstaff is also an active member in the PAC, acting as their treasurer for around five years.
“He’s affected every single part of PAC,” Green said.
Wagstaff has also participated on the committee for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and served breakfast at the Salvation Army for about four years. He was also involved in the Piqua Compassion Network, the Hunger Walk, and the Memorial Day service. In addition to volunteering in the community, Wagstaff still continues to offer his teaching to the community by acting as a guest pastor at different churches.
“I personally admire his strength going through all his cancer treatments,” Green said. “That shows a very strong person.”
Wagstaff is also a cancer survivor, having gone through 44 radiation treatments, 60 hyperbaric treatments, various surgeries, and more in order to beat prostate cancer. Wagstaff said that his experience with cancer taught him patience. His priorities were also reinforced, he said, noting that what was important in life was “family, friends, and then the good Lord first.”
“I enjoyed being with people,” Wagstaff said about what inspired him to continue to participate in the community. “I want to do what I can.”
Wagstaff said that he drew lessons about being a good pastor and person from the pastor who officiated Wagstaff’s wedding with his wife, Sandy.
“No matter how busy he was, he always made time for you,” Wagstaff said.
Wagstaff was in his mid-30s when he started on the path to becoming a pastor.
“I accepted the Lord at the age of 35,” said Wagstaff, who decided to take classes at night before transitioning to attending Ashland Seminary.
“I was accepted with no place to live,” Wagstaff said, adding that it was by chance that a house became available for him and his wife to live.
While in seminary, Wagstaff pastored at the Ruggles Community Church. After seminary, he went on to pastor at churches in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Huber Heights, and Piqua, all between 1978 and 2001.
Wagstaff has two grown daughters, Jody Jarvis and Mindy Steele, both married. He also has five grandchildren, four of whom are married and the fifth one recently engaged. He has three great-grandsons and three great-granddaughters.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall