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EU Alumni Perspective: Zach Troutman

Name: Zach Troutman
Graduation Year: Fall 2009 & Spring 2012
Major: Family Relations & School and Guidance Counseling
Current Position: Assistant Director for The Arc of the Ozarks & Founder of Follow the Leader
City and State: Springfield, Missouri

Tell us about your career and what you do now.

While at the Arc I am blessed with the opportunity to serve individuals living with both an intellectual and developmental disabilities. We serve close to 90 adults in residential 24-hour care. We serve in many different capacities such as: prompting them to shower, administering medications, taking them grocery shopping, taking them to church, and most importantly working with them to give them the life of quality they want and deserve.

Follow the Leader was a platform created to share my battle with depression to connect with others out there who are silently suffering. Years before FTL launched my best friend died by suicide and it left me confused, hurt, and unfortunately mad at God. Through prayer and counseling God put on my heart to use my story along with Adam’s story to do whatever I could to help families and friends from feeling what I felt and continued to feel over the years. God has done amazing things allowing me to speak at graduations, school assemblies, churches, prisons, and local businesses. I am blessed to motivate people to be one-percent better than they were the day before and to see that God is the light at the end of the tunnel.

What is your favorite memory from Evangel?

Herbert Cooper speaking during spiritual emphasis week. I had never ever experienced anything like it. His transparency really touched my spirit which was in conflict at the time due to my upbringing and teachings on the campus being basically opposites.

How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?

At first, I struggled quite a bit. I would fake these intimate experiences with God so I could fit in. After hearing Herbert speak it really gave me courage to be honest about where I was in life and what really was in my heart. When that transformation happened, it set the stage for many friends, teammates, and people I encountered, to follow.

How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?

The main thing would have been from my football coach, Scott Metcalf. He taught me that no matter what happens in life; good, bad, high, or low; God must remain the center piece of my life. I watched him go through tough times but every day he was literally on his hands and knees praying and calling out to God. I had never seen that before. I had learned when things are going bad to just give up and do whatever made me feel good. This display of unconditional love and vulnerability was exactly what I needed because God knew before I knew, that I would be a husband, father, and influence of many people one day. It’s because of my coach listening to his calling that I could tap into mine. Coach Getty, Hartley, Garrett, and Gehring all were instrumental in building me up to be the man I am today.

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

Sometimes experience comes in the form of another unpaid internship or volunteering. Be willing to sacrifice short term so your long term is long lived and successful.

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?

Experience, education, heart, and how they were raised. Those four things are cornerstone pieces for a strong foundation when building up a quality employee.