Ban­ner hon­ors fallen sol­dier

County marks Veter­ans Day by ded­i­cat­ing ‘Home­town Hero’ ban­ner hon­or­ing late Abington na­tive

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @mont­co­court­news on Twit­ter

NOR­RIS­TOWN >> With the ded­i­ca­tion of a ban­ner hon­or­ing the mil­i­tary ser­vice and sac­ri­fice of Marine Capt. Sa­muel Schultz, his rel­a­tives, friends and fel­low veter­ans en­sured the Abington na­tive will not be for­got­ten.

“We must never for­get,” Schultz’s fa­ther, Mitchell, said Mon­day as a “Home­town Hero” ban­ner hon­or­ing his son was un­veiled dur­ing a somber cer­e­mony out­side the Mont­gomery County Court­house on the Veter­ans Day hol­i­day.

Cap­tain Schultz, 28, who grew up in the Hunt­ing­don Val­ley area and grad­u­ated from Abington Se­nior High School, was one of four Marines killed in a mil­i­tary he­li­copter crash dur­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise on April 3 in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

“He died do­ing what he wanted to do. He wanted to serve the coun­try and he also wanted to fly and that’s what he was do­ing,” Mitchell Schultz, also a vet­eran, said about his son.

Mitchell Schultz de­scribed the ban­ner ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony as “heart­warm­ing and at the same time gut-wrench­ing.”

“It’s an honor to have ev­ery­body come out here and honor our son. But, these things also are re­minders of the tragedy of what hap­pened,” Mitchell Schultz said.

The el­der Schultz de­scribed his son as “funny, ar­tic­u­late and a go-get­ter.”

“As I said many, many times, he lived more in his short time than many of us will ever live in a full life­time. We’re sur­prised con­stantly by the out­pour­ing of peo­ple that he touched that we never knew he did. So, we find out more about our son ev­ery day even though he’s not here,” Mitchell Schultz, flanked by his wife, Julie, said proudly.

“We just ap­pre­ci­ate all of the sup­port that we’ve got­ten from all over the world. We still get let­ters from peo­ple who we don’t know and they tell us sto­ries about Sam and you know that they knew Sam by the sto­ries that they told. And we ap­pre­ci­ate all of it,” Julie Schultz added.

Cap­tain Schultz, of­fi­cials said, en­rolled in the Navy ROTC pro­gram at Penn State and joined the Marine Corps af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

“Cap­tain Schultz has deep roots in Mont­gomery County. He was a six-year vet­eran of the Marines and the third-gen­er­a­tion of the

Schultz fam­ily to be­come a pilot,” county Com­mis­sioner Chair­woman Va­lerie A. Arkoosh told those who gath­ered un­der a gray sky on the court­house plaza for the cer­e­mony. “We are so grate­ful for the ser­vice that he chose to give to our coun­try.”

Schultz is the 18th U.S. ser­vice mem­ber from Mont­gomery County, who lost their lives dur­ing ser­vice to the coun­try since Sept. 11, 2001, to be hon­ored with a “Home­town Hero” ban­ner. The col­or­ful ban­ners, each em­bossed with a photo of the ser­vice mem­ber, flut­ter in the breeze from the light poles at the court­house en­trance off Main Street.

“It’s a vi­brant sym­bol of his ser­vice. This ban­ner will fly here at our county court­house so that we can all con­tinue to re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fice that he made for our na­tion. This will be a vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our prom­ise to never for­get,” Arkoosh said.

Sev­eral lo­cal mem­bers of the Amer­i­can Gold Star Moth­ers took part in un­veil­ing the ban­ner and plac­ing a wreath nearby.

Fam­ily mem­bers of the fallen hero and other spec­ta­tors ap­peared somber as a lone bu­gler, stand­ing in a nearby court­yard, played “Taps,” chan­nel­ing the mourn­ful tune into the chilly, morn­ing air.

The ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony also in­cluded a ri­fle sa­lute. Two CH-53 Marine Corps he­li­copters also com­pleted a fly­over of the court­house to honor Schultz.

“I am tremen­dously proud of your son and his heroic ac­tions and his ser­vice to this na­tion. I ad­mire it and he is by far, the full def­i­ni­tion of a home­town hero,” county Com­mis­sioner Joseph C. Gale ad­dressed Schultz’s fam­ily. “All veter­ans make sac­ri­fices. It’s a big sac­ri­fice and it’s men and women that are will­ing to do it to pro­tect our free­doms and we can’t thank them enough.”

County Com­mis­sioner Ken­neth E. Lawrence Jr. said the “Home­town Hero” ban­ners “are vivid sym­bols” of ser­vice mem­bers “taken from us too soon.”

“These men and women served in all branches of the armed ser­vices and they were from all cor­ners of the county,” Lawrence said.

The other 17 “Home­town He­roes” hon­ored with ban­ners are: John Bubeck of Col­legeville, age 25; Paul Kar­powich of Bridge­port, age 30; Kurt Krout of Spin­ner­stown, age 43; John Kulick of Har­leysville, age 35; Nathan Rau­den­bush of Dou­glassville, age 25; An­thony Sher­man of Pottstown, age 43; Marc J. Small of Col­legeville, age 29; Tris­ten Smith of Bryn Athyn, age 23; Jef­frey Toczy­lowski of Up­per More­land, age 30; Travis Zimmerman of New Ber­linville, age 19; Mark P. Phe­lan of Green Lane, age 44; Joseph Basil Maglione III of Lans­dale, age 22; Travis M. Stot­tle­myer of Hat­field, age 20; John Todd III of Bridge­port, age 24; Bran­don J. VanParys of Schwenksville, age 20; Jake S. Mo­let­zsky of Nor­ris­town, age 26; and Eric F. Shel­len­berger of Penns­burg, age 36.

CARL HESSLER JR. — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

The Mont­gomery County com­mis­sion­ers view the lat­est “Home­town Hero” ban­ner un­veiled at court­house on Veter­ans Day to honor Marine Capt. Sa­muel Schultz, 28, of Abington.

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