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MDS family draws together in prayer for Arkansas community after tragic accident

July 13, 2021

In the wake of a tragic accident on July 10 that killed two brothers on their family farm in Carroll County, in northwest Arkansas, the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) family is extending condolences and prayers to the MDS Search and Rescue Team, which responded on the scene in their own close-knit community.

Alex Hostetler, 20, and his brother, Layne, 15, died while trying to extricate a straggler steer from a pond during a cattle roundup on the 1,000-acre farm owned by their father. Their sister, Eileen, 18, was injured trying to help her brothers.

Ted Hostetler, MDS Search and Rescue (SAR) team leader, responded to the scene along with 19 other SAR team members. The boys’ father, Louis Hostetler, is Ted’s second cousin.

“We’ve known them all our lives,” said Ted, who asked for prayers for his team, the family and the wider church family. “We are hurting right now. I thought you all would like to know.”

The Arkansas SAR team is highly trained and experienced, but it’s difficult to describe how they feel responding to someone so close to them, said Ted. “We have worked many scenes similar to this but never when it was one of our own,” he said. “We are trained and no one had to be told what to do. I feel the boys got the best care they could have ever gotten, not because I was there but because there was a large team of well-trained people doing their absolute best for these boys and families.”

Alex and Layne loved horses, Ted added. “They loved cattle. This was their passion. Dad bought this big farm and they took care of the cattle and lots of horses. They rode horses daily.”

MDS extends prayers and condolences for Ted and his team, for the Hostetler family and for the wider community in Carroll County.

Ted draws inspiration from a quote by William A. Ward: “Love is the spark that kindles the fire of compassion. Compassion is the fire that flames the candle of service. Service is the candle that ignites the torch of hope. Hope is the torch that lights the beacon of faith.  Faith is the beacon that reflects the power of God. God is the power that creates the miracle of love.”

Ted, may the miracle of God’s love comfort you, your family and your community, during this very sad time.

Funeral services for the boys will be held on July 14 at the Bethel Amish Mennonite Church. A memorial fund for the family has been set up at Anstaff Bank.