What is the Andrew Baer Memorial Fund?

This perpetual fund with White Sulphur Springs is to ensure others, like Andrew, have the opportunity to return to their faith. White Sulphur Springs was so integral in the development of Andrew’s faith as a child and his return to faith as an adult. We ask that you help us ensure that his purpose in life continues beyond his physical death.

Make a Donation

Andrew’s Story:
A Prodigal Journey, A Walk of Faith

Andrew Baer grew up in an Army family and was born at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Like most military children, he had the privilege of moving around the United States and the opportunity to live overseas (in Germany).

He truly enjoyed traveling and living the culture wherever his family was assigned during his parents’ military careers. He graduated with a BA from George Mason University and was involved in restructuring the GMU Student Association and serving as Treasurer for the Humanitarian Action Working Group. Andrew also received an MA from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

After graduation, Andrew worked for the Intelleger Risk Management Company, providing security for the Kajaki Dam Reconstruction Project in Afghanistan. Andrew served as the Site Security Intelligence Officer, working with both U.S. military and Afghan security forces. Andrew’s efforts were recognized by USAID in Kabul in that they used his product as the standard and “go-to” document for reference in the area of operations. Andrew served as an EMT with the Buckhall Fire Department for three years. He was a consummate professional and delivered work of the highest standard.

Because of his experiences as an “Army Brat,” Andrew continued to enjoy traveling during his free time as an adult. He completed a trip to Machu Picchu to celebrate the completion of his graduate degree. He was always interested in giving to others and kept busy by volunteering with their local HOA and coaching soccer for the local community.

More important than these activities and accomplishments was Andrew’s faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Andrew grew up in a strong Christian home but went through a prodigal period in his life where he walked away from his Christian faith and upbringing. He spent time searching for answers and truth. In God’s grace, he was brought back to where he started and he rededicated his life to Christ.

Andrew often attended camp and events at White Sulphur Springs. As an adult, he spent vacation time and volunteered to serve on staff as a counselor for Allegheny Outback (AO!). White Sulphur Springs was an incredibly powerful and important part of Andrew’s journey and Christian walk. It played an important role in bringing him to saving faith in Christ, and in turn, he gave back to White Sulphur Springs by serving on staff so that the Lord could use him to be a positive influence in the spiritual journeys of others.

Andrew’s life is not so much about his birth, his accomplishments or even his death—caused by a tragic accident while he was en route home from Afghanistan—but rather it is about his faith walk with Christ, his prodigal journey that saw him walk away from and then return to his Christian faith. The Lord used White Sulphur Springs in Andrew’s life as a child and as an adult, and he desired to be part of that process for others. Join us in honoring Andrew’s memory and continuing what he started by supporting the Andrew Baer Memorial Fund.

EMS Award honoring Andrew

“Andrew was my 2014 AO! Counselor. I am so grateful to have been able to get to know him because, though the time was short, he wasted not one moment. I have many fond memories of him. My favorite and most vivid being when he single-handedly canoed my brother down the river because he had gotten sick and thrown up. Andrew was marked by Christ-like love and servant-hood. I wish there were more men like him.”

—Bekah Runey

“Over the many years of AO! that I’ve done, I have had many amazing counselors but none like Andrew Baer. He was kind, light-hearted, and genuinely cared for each and every one of us campers. He was the exact friend I needed during that point in my life. His quiet nature made it easy to talk to him. He had a genuine interest in me and my life. I will miss him greatly, and he will always be remembered.”

—Caleb LeGear

“I will always remember Andrew’s challenge to me. He asked, ‘How do you tell who the second lieutenant is in a platoon of Soldiers?’ He said, ‘He is the guy with the messed-up shirt, who looks like he had no sleep last night, and the man with the worst MRE to eat. But you know what? Every Soldier in that platoon looks happy, well dressed and properly fed because the lieutenant is more concerned with their needs than his own…Be that guy.’ “

—David Markovich

Memorial and Prayer Wall

Use the following form to tell us and others how Andrew Baer impacted your life, or to offer up a prayer request or a praise. All content is held in moderation, and will not appear until the administrator approves your message. Once your message is received and approved, we will share it according to your instructions.

Use the following form to tell us and others how Andrew Baer impacted your life, or to offer up a prayer request or a praise. All content is held in moderation, and will not appear until the administrator approves your message. Once your message is received and approved, we will share it according to your instructions.

Rajit Das

For All I Can Do is Mourn from the Heart

As the tears have all dried up from Mourning in your passing physically For all that still remains are a trickle of tears from the heart

As I peruse the aisles in Barnes and Noble Bookstore Books on History and War, I come across All I can think of is you, bro As I wish I could scream to my hearts content, “Andrew! Why aren’t you near?” Why can’t you say, “Mate, lets talk!” Why? Oh! Why? did you leave so soon for heaven Your absence is felt like a punch in the stomach What would I do to hear your thoughts today In the tumultuous of times like And hear those words of reassurance.. For all I can do is mourn from the heart

For Heaven is where you reside And I am sure you are playing with your beloved dog With Christ cheering you on from the side Tell me what is life like in Heaven? For God has accepted you into His Kingdom And has praised you for what you have done While dealing with so much You guided your flock Your love of humanity was seen by your actions For all I can do is mourn from the heart

And with each memory, the heart pangs What would I do to see As I sit with your family around your dinner table in your home And hear Father Wooley say grace From the corner of my eye see, in reverence, as my head is bowed down See you make the sign of the cross, with a Amen A testament of faith, a simple act It was like yesterday, as I sat with your family in the patio table outside And bowed my head in reverence with them As Father Wooley said grace and prayed For your well being… I Felt the love from them towards me Accepting a Hindu man into their home To break bread with Because we are all God’s children. For all I can do is mourn from the heart

As I try to remember Memories I had with you 1 ½ years is nothing, It felt like eternity And I feel guilt ridden What more in memories can I share with your brother Eric Who is eager to hear more stories of you You were close to both of us Your presence is felt in spirit And not be near physically For alI I can do is mourn from the heart

All I can say Of the memories I have of you Are stored in a vault within my heart A vault that can be accessed by me And when the day comes When my true love is beside me and asks On Valentines Day, “Raj, why are you so down” I will respond to her “Well you see, I had a brother.. whose name was Andrew who was borne on this day….” For all I can do is mourn from the heart.. For you, Andrew, a brother who was so dear.

Received: January 30, 2017

Andy Matelski

My name is Andy Matelski, I am an intern at WSS now because of Andrew Baer. Andrew was always really real with me when he was my Winter Retreat High School teacher. He taught me that it was ok to be goofy and still be serious. He made a huge impact on my life and he is one of the main reasons I wanted to become a Christian, his authenticity really hit home with me and I wanted what he had which was Christ in his life. So through the years I ended up coming back to WSS and serving on Senior Staff as a Camp Caleb counselor and then an EXSEL intern. I wish I could talk to Andrew again so I can tell him about how much he did in my life even though he probably did not realize it. God bless, Andy Matelski

Received: January 15, 2017

Elizabeth

I met Andrew when we were sixteen at a leadership conference in Germany. We immediately bonded over our mutual love of Casablanca, music, and literature. Over the next ten years that bond grew; though we were separated by distance, we kept in touch by email, Facebook, phone calls, and – in recent years – by letters. Andrew became one of my closest friends, and in so many ways he knew and understood me better than my friends and family I saw every day. Andrew and I had both grown up in relatively sheltered, safe Christian households. The older we became, the more we saw of suffering and pain, that evil often seems to go unpunished and the innocent are helpless and abandoned. In college, Andrew and I both dealt with a sense of despair and disgust with the world and ourselves. He was the only person I could turn to who understood what I was feeling and did not treat me with kid gloves. In our own ways, we each came to reconcile this fallen world with the God of the Bible. At times, we were able to find hope; other times, we simply had to let go of the bitterness and injustice, and give it over to God.

It was a daily struggle, but over the last two or three years, I saw so much more peace and hope within him. The restlessness was still there, but instead of chafing against something, he was aching to channel it towards helping others. Andrew can best be described as someone with a servant’s heart, someone who wanted to help others. I remember him telling me how he wanted to be a priest like his grandfather when he was little. By the time I met him, he was looking toward West Point and military service. Later, he became involved in NGOs and humanitarian efforts, as well as serving at WSS. In the midst of all of this, he used his artistic talents to create songs, novels, plays, and poems – works of beauty, suffering and humor that touched those who heard or read them.

I still hear his voice and words every day – his encouragement, humor, intelligence, bad grammar, love and acceptance. Andrew was the most amazing man I have ever met. My life has been profoundly affected by knowing him, as I know so many others would say.

Received: August 19, 2016

Katelyn Hart

I was very fortunate to have Andrew as one of my AO! leaders in 2014. It was my first time on AO! and his first trip as a leader. To say that week was amazing, would be an undeniable understatement. Andrew served in so many ways: he lead devotions, played guitar for worship, defended our trash from raccoons, and never failed to make us all laugh. In everything he did, he did it to his very best. He lived every moment to the fullest, and loved life. He showed us everyday what it looked like to love Christ and live in His power. I am so thankful for the time we had, and that I can say Andrew is my friend. I learned so much from talking to him and by watching how he humbly lived. The theme of AO! that summer was PEACE, which is a hard thing to fully understand, but Andrew gets to fully know this perfect peace a little earlier than we do. He will always be part of my WSS family, as well as part of my personal walk with Christ.
Thank you -John 14:27 Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.-

Received: August 2, 2016

William Todd

Andrew and I have been very close friends since we were both in junior high school together. Over the years life took us down different winding / intersecting paths, but Andrew and I always maintained our strong brotherly friendship. Andrew was the best friend a guy could have – he was there for me through some really hard and through some of the best times; like being one of my best men at my wedding. I can say that I was loyal to Andrew and was also there through thick and thin, good and bad. We were both supported each other when our fathers were Afghanistan / Iraq (serving our nation in different capacities). Andrew was the kind of guy that would support a good friend, and believe the best in everyone, even when others did not. Andrew was the guy that drew people in with his humor / wit, intellect and magnanimous personality. Everyone wanted to be Andrew’s friend, and Andrew reciprocated that friendship. He was a shining star in a dark night.

Andrew was honestly one of the most intelligent and intellectual people I knew. We would both talk about philosophy, politics, history (in particular the World Wars) and religion for hours on end sometimes. Andrew was constantly reading, constantly writing, and always striving to learn more. Which brings me to one of the reasons for posting on this board: Andrew and I had a similar crisis of faith in our early adult years. We both questioned, doubted, pondered, rebelled and felt a lack of faith. This fog of faith lasted for many years for both of us. However, that is a part of growing up that I believe many people have. However, over the years, and through many ups and downs, as Andrew and I matured, we both started to grow back into our Christian faith in our own ways. Andrew truly was coming to terms with his faith and starting to live be its tenants in his last years on this plane of existence. Andrew was always charitable and trying to help people. One of Andrew’s main goals in life was to help people less fortunate overseas, and to strive and make this world a better place. I believe Andrew succeeded in his goals. Andrew touched some many peoples’ lives, in so many different, but positive ways. Part of Andrew’s legacy will be carried on in the spark that he lit within everyone whose heart he touched.

Thank you Andrew for being a part of my life (and still being there for me), William Todd

Received: June 13, 2016

Richard Barry

Andrew and I lived together when he was finishing up his graduate studies. I only knew Andrew a short time, but his gifts were apparent from our first meeting. Thoughtful, intelligent, funny, seeking- he had the best set of traits and gave them to others freely.

When Andrew passed, I missed him and the deeper friendship we would have developed. But because Andrew lived every minute to its fullest, I am grateful for the ones we shared and am glad to see his memory continue here and with others lucky enough to have known him.

Received: May 5, 2016

Nelson Chiaravallotti

I first met Andrew in the summer of 2014 when I had the privilege of having him as my AO! leader. That week, he embodied the traits of a leader and Servant to the Lord. Everyday he would check up on us and make sure we were doing alright. He would sit down and talk to us and get to know us any chance he could. At the end of the week, what he said to me still motivates me now and has helped me decide on what I want to do and who I want to be. Andrew was so selfless, and devoted so much time to everyone he knew. His story is truly amazing. It was such an incredible opportunity to have spent that week with him and share fellowship with him. You could see God working through him in all that he did. I am so honored to have met him, and I will never forget the impact he had on my life

Received: April 19, 2016

Meghan Lawlor

I worked with Andrew for a few months during my employment at Nautica at Potomac Mills. I was an Asst. Manager transferred from a Northern VA Nautica store. We were very close in age but that didn't stop him from treating me with the respect I deserved as his superior and I always tried to treat all my coworkers as equals and Andrew was a such joy to work with. He was always in the best mood and knew how to keep everyone in a good mood. He was a dedicated worker, very interesting in general, all around just knew how to have fun. He always told me how much he loved snowboarding. Right before I left the company he told me about his plans for Afghaniatan and I was very encouraging of him to go off and achieve his goals. I kept in contact with Andrew throughout the years on fb and this is the first I am seeing of his death. My deepest sympathy to the family. Andrew will always be someone very memorable for me and although I do not have money to contribute at the moment, prayers always and forever.

Received: March 8, 2016

Jennie Shepard

My last memory of Andrew was corresponding through emails after he recommitted his life to Christ. It made my heart smile to have him email me for advice on life decisions. I remember dissecting owl pellets with him when he was just a young boy so hearing from him as a grown man loving the Lord was special. Andrew had gone through some hard times but made his way back to his love...Jesus. His questions and concerns were all centered around Christ. I'm proud to have been a part of his life in bits and pieces of time. Andrew comes from a long line of faith. I will see you again, Andrew Baer. Thank you for the hope you left for any of us that lose our way...God is always waiting for our return into His arms.

Received: February 28, 2016

Nathan Dohnert

I will never forget the late night talks we had, discussing hard times in our life, and just sitting on the porch and talking about times at work. I will never forget the one night you spilled your coffee five times, then you decided to get tea and you didn’t spill that. I love you brother and I will never forget our times together. The promises we made and talks we have they will always be in my heart. I know you’re looking down on me, our saying “To do more for the world, than the world does for you, that is success”.

Received: February 20, 2016

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Make a Donation

This perpetual fund with White Sulphur Springs is to ensure others, like Andrew, have the opportunity to return to their faith. White Sulphur Springs was so integral in the development of Andrew’s faith as a child and his return to faith as an adult. We ask that you help us ensure that his purpose in life continues beyond his physical death.

Make a Donation