Students who attend the Seminary of the Southwest are currently on Christmas break. But Dean Cynthia Kittredge says, despite the holiday, news spread fast that a former professor, Russell Schulz, was among those injured in the Berlin terror attack.
"He is just very, very, grateful; he has gotten hundreds of e-mails and expressions of love from alums, former students, current students and friends from around the world,” said Dean Kittredge.
Russell Schulz worked at the Episcopal seminary for more than 30 years. He moved to Berlin after retiring in 2010. On December 19th Schulz was sitting in a Berlin Christmas market with four other people. A large truck plowed through the area killing a dozen people and injuring almost 50.
On his Facebook site, Schulz posted he survived, but two of those with him at the time were killed and the other two were hospitalized. He also sent an e-mail to Dean Kittredge, who Friday morning read a portion of it;
"I'm going to learn a lot from this experience, I'm going to survive and learn and carry on, I'm going to cherish every day, please tell our Seminary of the Southwest family of my thankfulness,” wrote Schulz.
When Russell Schulz was working in Austin he spent much of his time teaching in the campus chapel. From a room dedicated to his God, Schulz composed more than just notes on paper, according to Kittredge.
"He taught the whole person, and it just wasn't about music, it was about your spiritual life, relationship with God, your leadership in the community, and so Russell taught music here, but he taught how to be a Christian and how to be a Christian leader."
Kitterdge is confident the man who wrote songs of praise will not be changed by the hate that has caused so much heartache.
"I know that it will strengthen Russell, and he will after his time away, will discern how to use this experience with the rest of his life experience to do good in the world, I have no question about that."
Russell Schulz is one of two people with ties to Texas that got caught up in the Berlin rampage. The other person is Richard Ramirez who, according to his family, was seriously injured. Ramirez is from south Texas and had moved to Berlin ten years ago.