As an Accounting major and a self-proclaimed lover of all things organization, Nate Hasenstein (’18) knows down to the cent exactly how much he has in his bank account. He makes his bed every morning (or else he can’t concentrate in class) and he’s not ashamed to say that he has some OCD tendencies. But even he could not count on his life going the way he had planned.

During his junior year of high school, Nate’s mom passed away from cancer. Being the planner that he was, the young tactician had always envisioned he would go through the process of choosing a college with his mom by his side. When life took a turn from these careful plans, he decided he was going to choose a place with her in mind.

Eventually, Nate chose to go to a school in Michigan which specialized in professional golf management. But in less than a week, he already knew the school wasn’t a good fit. In another turn of events that defied all planning, Nate changed directions and enrolled at Concordia.

That’s when Nate met Zoey. Having been through the passing of his mom, Nate quickly developed a special bond with the campus’ blonde-haired, tail-wagging comfort dog.

“I would always ask where Zoey was,” Nate recalls. “She was such a comfort to me and I knew I wanted to become one of her handlers. I feel like that’s part of what I was called here to do.”

While Nate’s nature initially made it difficult to open up about what he had been through, Zoey helped him through the healing process and even opened up doors to being a confidant for others who were struggling.

Four years later, the connection Nate shares with Zoey has allowed him to step into an unexpected role of comforting others. Nate now regularly takes Zoey to Columbia St. Mary’s hospital to work with their behavioral health patients – and it’s an uncommon sight to see.

“There’s a spirituality to working with Zoey,” Nate explains. “Whenever you bring Zoey into the group, the patients start petting her and then opening up or crying. Some of them are getting out of bed for the first time in weeks.”

As it turns out, the unplanned change of direction from a university in Michigan to Concordia has been what Nate needed all along – even if it wasn’t part of the accounting student’s original ten-year plan.

I knew I needed to be at Concordia because of the faith base. I saw people come out a better person, on fire in their faith, ready to take on the world.

“I knew I needed to be at Concordia because of the faith base,” Nate explains. “I saw people come out a better person, on fire in their faith, ready to take on the world, and set on the right paths with the right people. That’s why I decided to switch to Concordia.”

With a grin on his face, he adds: “This time, it was the perfect fit.”



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