Indiana Wesleyan grad killed in Afghanistan

Cheryl Beckett

Marion - One of the ten aid workers gunned down in Afghanistan last week is an Indiana Wesleyan graduate.

32-year-old Cheryl Beckett was found dead Friday along with nine other workers in northern Afghanistan.

Her parents were proud of her aid work, but they worried about her safety in Afghanistan.  When they heard that medical aid workers were killed, they had a feeling that Cheryl had been one of them.

Beckett graduated with honors in 2001 from Indiana Wesleyan, the Marion campus, earning a bachelors degree in biology.

After working with Americorps, she decided to travel to Afghanistan with the International Assistance Mission. There, she treated villagers for eye diseases and other ailments.

The Taliban says Cheryl's group was converting Muslims to Christianity, a claim the US government denies. The Taliban has taken responsibility for the killings.

Cheryl's father is senior pastor at Woodlawn Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.On Sunday, church members took time to remember Cheryl.

The associate pastor there says her parents had some concerns about her trip to Afghanistan.

"Charles and Mary, I think had a little bit of fear that this kind of thing could happen. You know, we still though, we all were shocked that this might be Cheryl and that something had happened," said Pastor Dwayne Curry.

Beckett's family released this statement :

"Cheryl loved and respected the Afghan people. She denied herself many freedoms in order to abide by Afghan law and custom. Her international co-workers and the Afghan Nationals with whom she served loved her. She was honored to be included in this most recent three week medical journey to the remote populations of Northern Afghanistan.

The wickedness of terrorism is being conquered through daily acts of mercy. Peace in Afghanistan can be achieved by the establishment of just laws for all people and the continued sacrifice and selfless love of people working together. Those who committed this act of terror should feel the utter shame and disgust that humanity feels for them. We share this pain with those who continue the difficult and dangerous work to which Cheryl committed her life. We, as a family, will continue to love and pray for the Afghan people. We pray that Cheryl's life and work will inspire existing and future ministries of mercy to press on."