Love Brings us Home

Brad & Angie Schumaker Family

Tragedy hit our home… God called his daughter, and our friend, mother, wife, aunt, co-worker, Angie, home to be with Him in Heaven, and it hurts like Hell. He eventually calls all of us… but it seems this time, it was just too soon. From the moment we heard the news, to the moment we laid Angie to her final resting place – family, friends and even complete strangers showed their love by doing anything and everything we could for Brad and the boys.

As Angie drove to work in a cold January rain, oncoming headlights and her life flashed before her – and without warning, or time to prepare, she was gone.

Angie leaves behind a husband and four sons… The Schumaker Boys. I honestly can’t imagine what that feeling must have been like for Brad when he received the initial call. And as he raced out to the accident site, the feeling he had when the EMT gave him the devasting news. He told me he stood in the rain, numb; trying to process everything. And though he told, I still can’t imagine… Then came the task of going home, to tell his boys that their mom, would not be coming home.

There is no playbook for this kind of tragedy. This is not supposed to happen. However, we know it did. Brad coach’s basketball for our hometown high school, and he is damn good at it. He even found the courage to coach his team in the midst of this all. In all the locker rooms I‘ve ever been in, the hundreds of pre-game speeches I’ve listened to, there is nothing that has ever compared to, or has come close to the courage of Coach Schumaker finding the strength or the words to do what he did… and continues to do every day for his boys, on and off the floor.

Our hometown, the Ottawa Glandorf community pours love and support into the hearts of those in need unlike anywhere else in the world. We take care of our own. And expect nothing in return. I’ve been blessed to live in many places, and not one of them compares to O-G. Period.

Can there be a silver lining of a tragedy like this that rips a mother away from her husband and four young children?  I’m not sure. It’s too soon… But I do know there is no other place that I have ever been, where it might be possible to find one. Growing up in the Ottawa-Glandorf community, and being raised with small town values at our core has produced good men and women. Men and women who continue to raise families in our community, and men and women who drop everything and return to our community when something like this happens. As the dust settles and Brad and the boys find their new routines, undoubtedly those routines will come with memories of Angie. Many of them wonderful, happy memories of the beautiful and caring mom she was. As the boys go forward, so come the unthinkable new challenges of financial burdens, family meals and everything else that four boys between the ages of four and twelve need.

As our friends gathered with Brad during this heart-wrenching time, we asked him what we can do. And all he asked of us was to tell our families we love them and to go be with them. He assured us that it was going to be ok.

There is nothing we can do to bring Angie back, but we can show up as often as we can, and do whatever we can.  So, whether you are reading this and can go be with your family and hug them, please do. You truly never know when it could be the last time you see them.  If you can donate a few bucks to the boys go-fund me page, thank you; it is all very much appreciated. Maybe you are a person who prays, that helps too. Whatever it is we take away from this tragedy is up to us. But one thing for certain, Love, at some point in our lives, will bring us Home.

Rest in Peace, Angie. We love you, and your Boys.

Rock Stars of Agriculture Interview

Earlierrock_stars_of_agriculture this week I was humbled to be a guest on the podcast, Rock Stars of Agriculture. Sports and agriculture have been such an important part of my life and it was a lot of fun to talk with Wayne about both. During the 30 minute interview we discuss a little football and a lot of agriculture. I always knew I had a face for radio; so hopefully Wayne will have me back… The podcast can be heard here: Rock Stars of Agriculture with Mark Inkrott.

Listening & Learning in 1989: Same Lesson Applies Today

Great Grandma celebrating 100 birthdays at the Ottawa Eagles. circa 1994

Great Grandma celebrating 100th birthday at the Ottawa Eagles. circa 1994.

The best homework assignment I ever completed as a kid came from Mrs. McKee in 4th grade. The year was 1989 and fourth grade life was pretty simple. The Cubs won the division that year and the late Don Zimmer was Manager of the Year. (A bit of a stretch for this post, but as a Cubs fan, anytime we can tie in winning the Division, I plead it is fitting and acceptable to do so).

The homework assignment was to interview someone who has lived a long time. We were learning history lessons in class and for the assignment, we were persuaded to ask a grandparent or someone of that particular age to give their perspective on a variety of questions. Topics like war and presidents, politics, transportation, cost of food, and voting.

Looking back it was a very thought-provoking assignment and a good reminder to spend quality time with your grandparents, and if you’re fortunate enough, your great-grandparents.

My subject: Great-Grandma Hoffman. She was undoubtedly qualified to answer my questions because she was easily the oldest person I knew in 1989.  She was 95 years old.

Because she spoke both high and low German,  as well as English, I thought she might draw some extra credit points as well. No extra credit was necessary though; I learned more from that 90 minute conversation with my great-grandma than I ever learned in a text book that year.

William McKinley, the 25th president of the USA was in office when Mary was born; November 22, 1894 to my great-great- grandparents, Joe and Lena Knott. During our interview she shared that the first president she remembered was Teddy Roosevelt who took office in 1901, when she was six years old.

Great Grandma didn’t arrive to school in a yellow school bus. She traveled by horse and buggy most of her childhood and it wasn’t until she was “much older” that they got a car. Although they had a hit-and-miss engine on the farm, they didn’t have a car until she was out of school.

In the marketing world, we talk about being remarkable, disruptive, and memorable so that a product stands out among its competition. When experiences are told or felt in the form of a story, and they are real stories told by people we know, research suggests we will remember them more clearly than if we do not know the person or more specifically, trust the person.

That conversation with Great-Grandma happened nearly 30 years ago when I was just eleven years old, but I can still remember the blue dress with flower print she wore for the interview. I remember she sat where she always sat on the couch, next to the end table, where she kept her handheld radio, used for listening to Cincinnati Reds baseball games.

Whether people are talking about a brand, or whether they are explaining what it was like to ride in a horse and buggy, people talking is what’s important, so we best listen. The people talking are not just consumers buying products, they are people teaching us a lesson.