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.

Where Good Comes From

Glandorf Feed Co. 1942; Glandorf, Ohio

Glandorf Feed Co. 1942; Glandorf, Ohio

I grew up in an agriculture community where almost everything that happened depended on the weather, family functions and high-school sports.  Both sides of my family were in the ag business and there were things about that lifestyle that I took for granted. Like where our food came from… besides the store or restaurant.

Growing up in a small town and having lived as an adult in several large cities, I interact with many people who are removed from where their food comes from; most of whom have never been to a farm.

My maternal grandfather was a second generation row crop and occasional cattle farmer. There were usually chickens in the coop as well as a few hogs or goats in the barn. Grandpa Hoffman taught me about raising animals when I was a kid and I knew that our family ate the food that he raised on the farm. One time as a kid I helped butcher chickens and found out first-hand what it means to be a chicken with his head cut off. A chicken actually came running directly after me flapping its wings, immediately after having his head cut off! Needless to say I ran as fast as my eight year old legs would carry me and to this day, that may have been my fastest recorded 40 yard dash.

Although I’m from a farming community, I grew up “in-town” on Main Street, not in the country. So I was not a farmer. I did work on Grandpa’s farm, but not every day like farm kids. I mostly played sports and went swimming during the summer months until I was about twelve; that’s when I started bailing straw and working more. Farm kids were driving tractors and doing chores way before twelve.

One of my favorite things about living in town was that I grew up less than a mile from my fraternal grandparents and I spent a lot of time there. I was really close with my Grandpa Inkrott; he taught me a lot about farming, but not so much on the farm stuff. He knew the feed business. Grandpa Art and his buddy E.J. Meyer started Glandorf Feed Co. in 1942 when they purchased a flour mill; it has been a growing family business ever since.

Grandpa knew crops and the weather better than anyone I’ve ever met. He and my Grandma, and sometimes me, would take “crop tours” all over the Midwest just to look at fields. Grandpa would get out of his suburban on an old state highway and walk a few rows into the field, touch the crops, smell the crops, pick up some dirt and get back in the suburban and talk for an hour about moisture, yield, and water sheds and heat index. He was pretty awesome. I learned more about crops and the weather by the time I was 10 years old than any meteorologist on television today. I also prayed more Hail Mary’s and said more rosaries than anyone on TV today, but that’s what a crop tour was. Crop talk, praying, and usually talking to farmers about the weather and if there was a place nearby to get an ice cream cone.

My grandfathers, who have both passed, taught me many great lessons over the years. Where my food came from was just one of them. I recall dozens of memories and stories that involve my family, farming, raising animals, planting and harvesting crops… These experiences have shaped who I am, and yes, many of them took place on a farm, a feed truck or in a field.

Many of the folks I come across today on the subway, in a convenience store or eating in a restaurant would have no idea what a grain elevator or a hog trough looks like. Their food is on a plate or on a shelf, and folks simply take it. People today know and expect that their food tastes good; but where it comes from… that is the best part.