Ben Watt is from Leon, Iowa. He explained that Leon is about 12 miles north of Missouri. Ben works remotely from home as a Central Mortgage Loan Representative. He works directly with Marine Credit Union (MCU) members.
Ben moved around a lot growing up as his dad worked for airlines after leaving the military. This took his family to Arizona, Kentucky, and eventually Des Moines, Iowa. Ben graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines. And after high school, Ben said, “You name it. I’ve done it.”
“School was not for me,” Ben continued and explained. “I was in a horrific car accident in 1991.” He shared that he had been dismissed early from school that day. “I overcorrected and slammed into a telephone pole. I had no seat belt on.”
“I have had seven reconstructive surgeries,” Ben continued. “It was in my junior year. I had stitches all over my face. I glowed from medication.” He said going through all of that made for a “very traumatic” high school experience. “I hated school. I wanted to be an individual and an adult.”
Ben shared that he became “extremely sarcastic” anytime he felt threatened … “to ward them off. I was always on the defense. I didn’t let anyone close. Until my late 20s, I was hard to get along with. I didn’t want to get close.”
He shared that one of his teachers made him get up and tell the class why he looked like he did. Ben was bullied in high school and after his accident, it was “10,000 times worse.” But there was one other teacher who showed Ben compassion, allowing him to make up time in gym class by running one mile for every class he had missed. “I started at the beginning of the hour. Forty-four minutes later, he came back and asked, ‘Are you still here?’ I said, ‘Yes.’” The teacher passed him. “He demonstrated grace and compassion,” Ben said of that teacher.
Ben shared that he, unfortunately, had other “dark” moments in his life as well. He had almost given up once. He shared that his daughter came upstairs and “out of the blue gave me a great big hug. She said she loved me.” His daughter told Ben that he was “very important” to her. “At that point in my life,” he added. “I committed to finding the positive in everything.”
“I was raised in a very strict Baptist church,” Ben added and said he used to ask God why He would let these things happen to him. That is when Ben started a faith-based recovery program. And since, Ben shared that he has felt more “prepared to deal” with life.
Ben shared that he has learned about loving people and showing grace during his recovery. “Every single person on this planet is screwed up.” But, he added, “I don’t think negatively of people.”
And now dealing with others is much different than what he experienced in high school. “I’ve learned that I learn so much more when I just listen,” Ben continued. “I ask a leading question and let them take it.”
“Through my life experiences, I am able to show unending grace,” Ben said and added that he no longer judges others but wants more to simply learn who they are. “I’ve been accused of being a big softy,” he added with a smile.
After finding himself with a low credit score at one point in his life due to being self-employed and not having a strong education in finances, Ben said he learned that MCU worked with people with low credit scores. He applied for a mortgage and got approved. This relationship with MCU eventually grew and Ben was hired in March of 2021. He now works as a central mortgage loan representative and helps others out of situations that he personally experienced.
“I’m not selling mortgages,” Ben explained. “It’s about building relationships. I’m helping them to realize how life can change when finances are handled successfully.”