Our biggest fundraiser thus far, the quarter beef raffle, came to an end Saturday night as we drew the winning tickets and called the winners to congratulate them. Now that the excitement has died down, it hits me that someone was missing Saturday night.
Rick Schneider, honorary committee member, started and drove the steer raffle fundraiser until his sudden and untimely passing on August 5. Rick, through Sun Bo Acres, donated the steer back in February and served as a catalyst for our organization by attending every biweekly meeting thereafter whilst leading our fundraising efforts.
Rick sold 200 steer tickets in the first three days and several more thereafter. He also enthusiastically gathered many, many silent auction donations for our silent auction held at our July 27 pig roast. He organized and worked through the heat on the 4th of July selling roast corn on the cob at the McCurdy Park celebration.
Rick moved committee members to tears as he donated a brick from the 9/11 Twin Towers to be housed at the memorial. At another meeting, he brought the issue of PTSD, suffered by servicemen, to the forefront as he educated us on the unspoken burdens carried by first responders.
Rick was adamant about building the memorial because he recognized the sacrifice made by our fallen firefighters and the sorrow felt by their families and recognized that at any time and in any fire, there is potential to lose another.
The memorial was Rick’s passion. He wanted it built and swore that he would see it built. Upon hearing the news of his shocking death, many committee members took up his torch and vowed for the project to be completed.
If three line of duty deaths, countless firefighter’s past and present from twelve fire departments, and an antique fire truck wasn’t enough inspiration to build the memorial, the loss of Rick adds even more inspiration to see this project through.
He is gone, yet lives as we work together to build the memorial for him.
Shiawassee Firefighter’s Memorial Committee member