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A Humanitarian’s Story

Weaving Life: Dan Terry EMU Documentary

Courtesy Daily News Record, May 1, 2012

Dan Terry devoted his life to helping Afghan people.

For nearly four decades, the humanitarian aid worker coordinated small-scale community development projects throughout the struggling country until his murder in 2010.

“I never know how to describe what my dad did. Every time I called him, he was doing something different,” said his daughter, Anneli Terry-Nelson, 30. “He was a networker. He knew someone who could do something someone needed to be done and could link them up over a cup of tea.”

The 64-year-old was among 10 humanitarian aid workers murdered on Aug. 5, 2010, as they were returning to Kabul from a medical relief trip in the northern part of Afghanistan.

Eastern Mennonite University alum Glen Lapp and Harrisonburg resident Brian Carderelli also were killed in the ambush.

On Friday night at the MainStage Theater in University Commons, 16 EMU students from the university’s visual and communication arts department unveiled a 57-minute documentary, “Weaving Life,” which portrayed Terry’s life.

Paulette Moore, a media arts and peace building professor, thought of the idea for the documentary after one of Terry’s friends, Jonathan Larson, spoke during a university chapel service.

“Those killings affected our community, the Mennonite community, greatly,” Moore said. “We were part of that story.”

Kelby Miller, a 22-year-old senior from Sarasota, Fla., served as the senior producer for the project.

The film depicts Terry’s unique approach to humanitarianism.

“I hope the documentary shows people Dan’s different ways of doing things,” Miller said. “He wasn’t just worried about giving them things but [also] making relationships.”

Justin Roth, a 21-year-old senior from Bettsville, Ohio, served as the project’s editor. Roth said he learned a great deal about Terry’s life during the semester-long project.

“We learned a whole lot about Dan through the stories of other people,” he said.

MennoMedia, which produces documentaries through the National Programming Committee of the National Council of Churches, plans to prepare the film for airing on ABC television stations this fall.

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