Profile: Reinhart “Richard” Koehler
Reinhart Koehler joined the NPH family as a volunteer in 1982. Now, more than 30 years later, he serves as the NPH International Board Chair.
Reinhart grew up with his three sisters in Germany. At age 16, he cared for his sickly grandparents. This experience led to his interest in the human service field. After graduating from high school, he gave 18 months of social service in a small Christian hospital. He entered college at the age of 23 and worked his way through doing night shifts at an intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Göttingen. Four years later, he graduated with a teaching degree in Biology, Physical Education and English as a Second Language.
Interest in the developing world took him to Mexico in 1981 where he learned about Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos™ and Father Wasson’s work. He applied to become a volunteer and a year later, in September 1982, he joined NPH for a year of volunteer service. The rest is history. It has certainly been a long year.
In 1986, Father Wasson asked Reinhart and Father Rick Frechette to become co-founders of an NPH home in Honduras. As the NPH Honduras National Director, Reinhart dedicated his work to creating a loving and caring environment for orphaned and abandoned children. While NPH Honduras cares for more than 500 children and youths on a daily basis, approximately 2,500 children have called NPH Honduras their home and family over the past 28 years.
Throughout his time with NPH, Reinhart had the opportunity to continue graduate studies. He received a Master’s Degree in Community and Adult Education in 1985 from the University of South Carolina and pursued post-graduate studies in Education at the University of San Diego.
In 1998, disaster in the form of Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras. Thousands of people died and half the population became homeless overnight. Reinhart responded through the NPH network with immediate relief service to the Hurricane victims. This initial response grew into a non-profit foundation called Nueva Esperanza (New Hope). Over the years, Nueva Esperanza has helped hundreds of people build and own a home of their own, and assisted with other projects such as rebuilding schools and providing jobs.
NPH International appointed Reinhart Director of Family Services in 2001. In this capacity, he collaborated with all the NPH homes in setting standards for childcare and developing policies and best practices to ensure quality care for all the NPH children.
In 2013, Reinhart was elected Board Chair for NPH International. When asked about his service to NPH, Reinhart states that “having the opportunity to do God’s work is the greatest happiness of all. Father Wasson has given me that opportunity. I am deeply grateful for that.”
Reinhart is based at the NPH home in Honduras where he lives with his wife and family.