Pilot who was scheduled to fly on 9/11 to speak at Northfield Church

A pilot who was scheduled to fly the first plane that was hijacked by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Center on 9/11 will be in Fort Dodge to share his story.

Steve Scheibner was scheduled to be the pilot on American Airlines Flight 11, according to a press release from Northfield Church, 2933 N. 15th St.

He went to bed on Sept 10, 2001, with his bags packed and ready to go.

But a last-minute substitution assigned another pilot to fly Flight 11 on the morning of 9/11.

Scheibner will be featured as the guest speaker for Northfield Church’s Celebration Services at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

“Many of us spent hours glued to the television watching in horror as towers fell and lives were irrevocably damaged,” The Rev. Dale Harlow, of Northfield Church, said in a written statement. “Steve’s presentation for our church services will stress the simple truth — every day does count.”

According to the release, Scheibner’s speech, entitled “In My Seat”, will recount the details of his experience.

“He will share a message of purpose, passion and commitment,” Harlow said.

Upon graduation from college, Scheibner joined the U.S. Navy and was commissioned and trained as a pilot in 1983.

He was deployed three times in four years flying the P3 Orion.

Scheibner left active duty in 1991 and was hired by American Airlines the same year. He currently flies the Boeing 777 out of John F. Kennedy International Airport, normally flying routes that take him to Europe and beyond.

His total flight time logs in at more than 12,000 hours.

During the late 1990s, Scheibner started his graduate education in theology and earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in May 2011.

He remained active in the Navy Reserve.

In 2001, Scheibner was asked to design and teach a course in Navy Core Values. The course has found broad acceptance and Steve is a highly sought after trainer and motivational speaker, according to Harlow.

In 2012 he retired as a Commander from the U.S. Navy.

He recently retired as senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Topsham, Maine to become the president of Characterhealth Corporation; a nonprofit conference ministry aimed at equipping parents to train the next generation of character-healthy leaders.

Scheibner continues to serve as a first officer for American Airlines.

“The church is excited to be able to invite everyone in the Greater Fort Dodge area to attend one of our Sunday morning services to here Steve’s impactful story,” Harlow said. “Steve knows firsthand what it means to have someone else die in his place, not once, but twice. That’s why it is so appropriate that he speaks during this Easter season.”

Guests are invited to two other events surrounding Scheibner’s visit to Fort Dodge.

“This national tragedy caused Steve and his wife, Megan, to reevaluate life and its choices,” Harlow said. “They have determined that their legacy will find its greatest fulfillment if they do their part to raise up a new generation of young adults — a generation of courageous, character healthy young adults, equipped to face the escalating challenges of their world.”

“Because marriage and parenting go hand in hand, Steve and Megan will be conducting two separate conferences at Northfield Church,” he said.

“Marriage with Meaning” is tonight at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

On Sunday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., “Parenting with Purpose” will be offered.

Guests are welcome and childcare will be provided for infants through fourth grade.

The conferences are free to attend.

For more information, visit northfieldchurch.org or call 576-2096.

If you go:

What: Marriage with Meaning conference

Who: Steve Scheibner and his wife Megan Scheibner

When: Tonight

Where: Northfield Church

Time: 6 p.m.

What: Celebration services featuring Steve Scheibner as guest speaker

When: Sunday

Where: Northfield Church

Time: 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

What: Parenting with purpose

When: Sunday

Where: Northfield Church

Time: 3 p.m.

• Cost for each event is free

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