Manhattan Christian's Heryford Stayed Solid Through Adversity


Samuel Heryford was prepping for the time of his life.

He had spent the summer life guarding and kicking soccer balls. A product of Berryton, Heryford’s senior year of classes were set to start at nearby Shawnee Heights High School located on the southeast outskirts of Topeka, Kansas.

He had a 4.0 grade point average on the line, was in the process of collecting 29 college credits, which allowed him entrance in any school that the Sunflower State, along with many others, had to offer.

Then came August 3, 2012. It was a Friday.

“I was the one who found him,” said Heryford, now a senior at Manhattan Christian College. “He had fallen about eight feet off a loft in the garage area and hit his head. I called 911, and with my lifeguard experience in CPR I tried to save him, but I knew it was too late.”

Jeffry Heryford, a 32-year veteran of the Kansas Highway Patrol and active within the Shawnee Heights firefighter family, died at the age of 54.

“That was tough,” admitted Heryford, who added that his father donated his organs which would help save the lives of five individuals.

Also tough was the fact that Daisy, his Dalmatian pup, died a couple weeks later. Also tough was the fact that his older sister, Lea, was soon to leave for Kansas State.

Heryford admits, “All of this did test my faith. Jesus said it would never be easy, but he would be behind you in times of trials. It was a lot to handle. And yes, it tested my faith. I fell away from the Bible for a short time, but in the end, it only increased my faith and helped in my decision to come to Manhattan Christian College.”

He continued, “At times I felt too much was all coming down on me at once and I felt lost. But I read the Bible more toward the end of my senior year and was eventually led to Manhattan Christian College.”

It was yet another example of how God never hands one more than he can handle.

It’s now four years later and Heryford is again a senior. He’s been a four-year starter for the Thunder soccer team earning all-Midwest Christian Conference honors and All-Southwest Region awards as a junior.

“Sam is just a great kid, who always does more than you ask him to do,” said MCC soccer coach Dr. Rick Wright. “He has great character and is a tender-hearted individual. You never have a problem with Sam.”

At MCC, Heryford carries a 3.8 GPA in Bible Leadership. Across the street at Kansas State University, he maintains a 3.7 GPA in Electrical Engineering and is a member of the prestigious Tau Beta Pi Honorary Fraternity.

Of the schools on opposite sides of Anderson Avenue, Heryford laughs as he says, “At MCC we have 300 individuals and I know them all. At K-State, I see someone I’ve never seen before with every five steps.”

And while KSU football coach Bill Snyder talks “Family,” Heryford says, “Manhattan Christian College truly is just one big family. At K-State you learn the technical things. At MCC you learn how to become a better Christian. You learn new ways to serve and be a better person.”

Heryford completes his MCC schooling in May, but will need another year at Kansas State.

His dream job would be to work for Sony and design a better than ever speaker system.

His dream is to cap his senior season with the Thunder winning a national soccer championship.

His dream is to continue leading friends and strangers to a Christian lifestyle.

“The leadership methods I’ve learned at Manhattan Christian College will help me in life,” said Heryford. “I’ve learned skills that will make me productive with a team of engineers. Because of MCC and the soccer program, I will be equipped to work with people in the future.”

Pausing, Heryford said, “After some tough times, Manhattan Christian College was a perfect fit for me.”