Go Be More Podcast

From Vietnam Orphan to Finding Family and Purpose - Kirk Kellerhals' 50-year Journey (Ep 52)

Episode Summary

We are all magnetically drawn to stories of hope and long-awaited reunions. As a Vietnam orphan rescued by a family, Kirk Kellerhals received immeasurable blessings while still struggling with his identity. But this runner’s story would come full circle 50 years later.

Episode Notes

Want to help us grow the show? Leave us a Rating and Review!

“I don't believe we'll ever recognize our need for the light until we've seen the depth of the darkness.”—Kirk Kellerhals

Kirk Kellerhals experienced a “full-circle” moment when a woman in an email said she thought he was her son. 

After living 50-years with a missing piece to his identity-puzzle, Kirk received the gift of learning about his biological roots. Here he shares how running and faith pulled him through dark times and how a documentary is his way of paying the “gift” forward to Vietnam vets and adoptees.

(2:43) Eight-thousand miles away, in 1969, a boy was born. Kirk tells about his early days.

(5:24) Standing out like a “sore thumb…”

(8:52) Playing sports, marching in the band, and staying out of trouble…

(11:09) Enrolled in the East Texas police academy…

(12:05) A “front-row seat” to a real protest in front of the White House…

(16:46) How the word “dehumanizing” applies to both sides of the conflict.

(18:49) Jon takes advantage of an opportunity to show compassion and support.

(22:42) We all have chances to escalate or de-escalate moments.

(24:35) “What I say to people is not nearly as important as how I make them feel.”

(25:59) From hating running to loving it, Kirk shares his transformation and how it led to meeting Jon.

(34:03) Witness Through Fitness, building community with running and faith…

(37:57) An incredible story of discovering his roots…

(40:43) A life-changing email…

(46:02) “It didn't take long to realize that this is my mother. I'm like, Holy moly. She's been looking for me for my 48 years. And...I'm talking to her.”

(50:19) The immediate bond with my mother, father, and siblings…

(52:05) Taking a lot less for granted…

(53:42) Dark places leading to purpose—photojournalism, documentaries, and sharing blessings…

(58:03) “Well, it's definitely a work in progress. And one of the things I'm finding, especially about a documentary that's as in-depth as this one, is it's very fluid.”

(1:02:20) What’s the impact you want the documentary to have?

(1:05:36) Putting the pieces together for Vietnam veterans…

(1:09:42) “We have always, our entire lives, had that stigma. That negative stigma, that Vietnam War hanging over our heads. I call it the Pigpen Syndrome.”

(1:13:40) What does Go Be More mean to you?

(1:17:12) “The Vietnam War was not all negative. There was a lot of good that came out of it.”

If you liked this episode, check out our interviews with Podcaster Joe Fier and entrepreneur Ron Sarmiento.

And, you can now get these show notes sent directly to your email. Sign up here!

Recorded September 14, 2020.


Sacred Heart Film - Facebook

SEACoast2Coast Foundation - Facebook


Kirk Kellerhals - Instagram


Bryan Green - @sendaibry, Go Be More Blog

Jon Rankin - @chasejonrankin, Go Be More


Go Be More website

Go Be More YouTube Channel


Production and Editing

Creatives Collective Marketing