Tree planted in honor of late Shelby police sergeant

November 2, 2023

Tree planted in honor of late Shelby police sergeant

‘Like the roots of a tree, let your legacy grow.’

SHELBY – For those of you who enjoyed the William Field Memorial HartMontague Trail this season, stopping by Walnut Park at Walnut and 5th streets, you may have noticed a new tree and plaque among the abundant green space. This tree was planted in memory of 32-year Shelby Police Department Sgt. Roger “Chuck” Schultz, Jr. 

After Schultz’s passing in February 2022, many felt like a hole was left in the community. “Chuck was an amazing person who was a true and constant friend to our community,” said Annette Kurzer. “He was one of a kind and what a small town officer really is meant to be. His passing left a deep hole in our hearts.” 

The late Roger “Chuck” Schultz

As Kurzer talked to those affected by Schultz’s passing, she had an idea: bring the community together to raise money for a memorial for the late Shelby police sergeant who made such an impact on the town they called home. “When the Village of Shelby heard my idea of planting a memorial tree and creating a plaque in his memory,” Kurzer continued, “they said they would donate land.” 

In October of 2022, friends and family gathered at the Shelby Optimist Club to grab a plate of food, participate in the raffle, and donate. “We were grateful to the Shelby Optimist Club for

Schultz’s widow Diane and their children Colton and Kayla.

donating the space for the fundraiser,” Chuck Schultz’s daughter, Kayla Schultz, said. “The mission of the Optimist Club is to be a ‘friend of the youth’ and that sentiment was very important to my dad, so it felt fitting to gather there.” 

The fundraiser welcomed many Village of Shelby residents, friends and family, and those who were impacted by him most. Money raised from the event went to creating the memorial in Walnut Park and beginning a scholarship fund in his name to be awarded to an Oceana County student. 

Earlier this year, the tree was planted in Walnut Park. 

“As Chuck’s family, we are honored to have this memorial for him,” Chuck Schultz’s wife, Diane Schultz, said. “It is nice to know he was loved and appreciated as much by the community as he was by us. So thank you.”

“I am thrilled to be able to honor a man who is not just a hero in the eyes of his family, but in my opinion, to many in our community,” said Kurzer. “A hero, in the sense of his compassion, his helpfulness, his guidance and his perceptiveness. He had the ability to read people at their core which was truly a gift. 

“I wanted a space for people to see him as I saw him. A solid, strong presence, with the ability to understand and adapt to the elements that surround it. He was one of a kind and will be missed and remembered often.” 

Chuck Schultz’s siblings: John Schultz, Cheri Parker and David Schultz.

The memorial placed next to the tree says “Like the roots of a tree, let your legacy grow”, and that’s what the Schultz family intends to do with the Chuck Schultz Public Safety Scholarship. 

The scholarship fund is currently in the Build-A-Fund stage with the Community Foundation of Oceana County and when funded, will be awarded to graduating seniors, current college students, or adult learners residing in Oceana County who are pursuing a degree or certification in public safety. 

Throughout Schultz’s career, his community-based policing influenced others in Oceana County to pursue public safety as a career, and the Schultz family hopes this scholarship will provide residents, in the years to come, with a career that fulfills them as much as it did Schultz. 

“Growing up, I lived across the road from Chuck,” said Tim Simon, Oceana County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer for Shelby Public Schools. “As I was finishing high

Kayla Schultz, Annette Kurzer and Pete Kurzer.

school, Chuck allowed me to ride along with him on patrol in the Village of Shelby on several occasions and seeing the influence Chuck had on people in the community made me want to become a law enforcement officer and work where I grew up. 

“Chuck had great compassion for people and would often times follow up days later to check on those he had contact with. He was a true community police officer. These qualities were what influenced me to be the police officer I am today.” 

The Schultz family is excited to grow the Chuck Schultz Public Safety Scholarship Fund and help a student in Oceana County who is looking to become a police officer, firefighter, EMS worker, or professional within public safety. 

Schultz graduated from the police academy at Grand Valley State College in 1983. He started his law enforcement career in 1984 working part-time at the Rothbury Police Department, part-time at the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, and full-time at the Shelby Police Department. In 1997, he was promoted to sergeant within the Shelby Police Department and also became Chief of Police in the Village of New Era. He retired from the Shelby Police Department with 32 years of service. 

Chuck was dedicated to helping others, whether he was dressed in uniform or not. If he saw a need or a way to help, he would. One of his passions was to change the narrative about police and help the community understand that he, and his fellow officers, were there to help. He did this by participating in community engagement opportunities like Kids & Cops, a program where children could meet police officers in their community, and Shop with a Cop, a program where local children are paired with a police officer to shop for Christmas gifts for their family. You could find him in uniform (and not) conversing with attendees at home basketball games, football games, and other sporting events or even volunteering to help the DPW plow the snowy roads in the middle of the night when they needed assistance due to low staffing. No matter who you were, he would treat you with dignity and help as best he could because that is what he was called to do.

If you’d like to contribute to the Chuck Schultz Public Safety Scholarship, you can donate here: https://bit.ly/437n5Ey or send a donation to the Community Foundation of Oceana County with the Chuck Schultz Public Safety Scholarship notated. 

 

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