Bozeman Honors Faithful Leader

"We had just moved to town, and he welcomed us warmly at church. He later invited us over to his house for dinner and sunset worship. When we arrived, we were surprised at the variety of salad ingredients he had carefully laid out. We enjoyed a nice meal with a yummy treat as we listened to worship music. He was so kind and interested in us and even had toys for our children at the end of the evening. Mr. Westerberg is such a kind, loving Christian!"

"No matter the task, you can always find him at church sweeping the sidewalk, sharpening pencils or doing anything that needs to get done. Dick faithfully serves in any capacity with a cheerful heart."

"He's really kind and always willing to work on church projects."

"He's one of the most giving and Godly people I know. He always has a Bible verse to share from memory."

"When I think of what angels are like, I think of Dick's kindness."

"Dick is the embodiment of the Bible's definition of a deacon."

Richard “Dick” Westerberg has been an active member in the Bozeman Adventist Church for more than 50 years, holding positions such as elder, deacon, treasurer for the elementary school, and Pathfinder assistant when his wife was the leader. He now serves as head deacon and adult Sabbath School teacher. He also joins a group of members who sing once a month at a nursing home and provides a devotional thought for the residents there.

Westerberg taught at Loma Linda University prior to moving to Bozeman. After his move, he worked as a physical therapist in a private practice for about 12 years, at the hospital in Livingston for 30 years, and at the hospital in Townsend for eight years prior to retiring in 2008.

Recently, while at the church caring for various things that needed to be done, Westerberg collapsed due to a heart failure. However, God cared for His faithful servant. Immediately the church member Westerberg had been talking to was at his side providing CPR. This church member happened to be trained as a first responder, and, as God would have it, an ambulance was near the church at that time.

The paramedics shocked Westerberg’s heart several times before it started to beat again. He was taken to the hospital in Bozeman, and the prognosis was grim initially. Many prayers were offered for Westerberg, and it wasn’t long before the doctor had a much better prognosis. He recovered miraculously, regaining consciousness within a couple of days.

True to his character, one of Westerberg's first questions when able to talk again was regarding church maintenance. After a short period of time with his son and daughter, he was able to return to his home in Bozeman and to his church family.

When asked why he has accepted so many church positions, Westerberg replied, "Because it needs to be done.” When asked what he loves about Bozeman, he said, “The people and the church family.”

Westerberg’s message to the Gallatin Rest Home residents each month, and to anyone he encounters, is, “Jesus loves you.” His message can be identified in one of his favorite memory verses: “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). If you live in Bozeman and have heard Westerberg’s testimony, you know your heart is touched by God’s goodness, compassion and love.

Because of Dick's life miracle experienced last December, and his 80th birthday this May, a drive through birthday parade was held at the Bozeman church where people could drive by or stop for a bit to greet him and show him how much his life of ministry is appreciated.