Everyone who joins the police force has to accept that enforcing the law means risking or even sacrificing your life for the good of your community.
But Chad Schieber, an officer with Michigan’s Midland Police Department, didn’t die at 35 years old because of the dangers of his job. Nobody could have predicted what happened.
The fit, seemingly healthy father of three collapsed while running the Chicago Marathon in 2007 and never got up. He’d suffered a massive heart attack brought on by an undiagnosed condition, leaving 11-year-old Abby, nine-year-old Noah, and six-year-old Micah without a dad.
“In a heartbeat, I became a 33-year-old widow with three babies,” his wife, Sarah, recalled.
The loss hit his youngest son, Micah, especially hard. “I would just sit … and watch for his squad car to pull in the driveway to go out and meet him. Even after he was still gone … I would still wait,” he said.
He’ll never forget seeing the 200 officers who came to honor Chad at his funeral.
But somehow, the family got through their grief, though they’ll always miss Chad’s “goofy,” loving presence. Sarah has since remarried and Micah just graduated from high school. As such, the teen has been feeling his father’s absence a lot lately. That’s what inspired him to invite his dad’s “brothers in blue” to his graduation party in June.
Sarah warned her son that the department might not be able to show up, as it was Father’s Day weekend and they could already have plans. But he sent the invite to Midland Police Chief Cliff Block anyway, though he followed his mom’s advice and set his expectations low. As it turns out, he didn’t have to.
Just like they did so many years ago, the officers who worked alongside Chad came through. Micah and his family watched, stunned as 18 patrol cars rolled up to the party with their lights on. Micah says the experience “just left me in complete awe and speechlessness. It was car, after car, after car, after car. I just just kinda sat there in shock.”
Each of the 18 officers came in full uniform and lined up not only in a touching tribute to their fallen comrade, but in celebration of his son’s milestone. Micah handed out gift bags, each containing a token of appreciation he’d crafted himself. They’d brought gifts as well, including a trading card featuring his dad and $111 to commemorate Chad’s badge number. Micah’s mom says it meant the world to her son.
“He said, ‘I want you to know I realize you guys get a lot of bad press … but I want you to know that just to me and my family, you mean a lot to us and we appreciate you,”’ Sarah said.
Micah says he still wishes he knew who his father was, but the response from Chad’s fellow cops taught him so much about his dad’s character and how loved and respected he truly was.
Rest in peace, Officer Schieber. We know you’d be so proud of Micah’s accomplishment as well as your department’s support.
Learn more about how police honored their fallen officer a second time below, and don’t forget to share.
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