Police Department Comes to High School Graduation Party to Honor Son of Fallen Officer
Michigan cop Chad Schieber died while running the Chicago Marathon in 2007.
Sarah Schieber and her 18-year-old son were sending out invitations to his high school graduation party when he asked if they could expand the guest list.
He said, "'Mom, do you think we could invite the police department?'" Schieber recounted to InsideEdition.com. "I kind of stopped in my tracks, and I looked at him, and said, 'You mean the whole police department?'''
That's exactly what Micah Schieber meant. His father, who died when Micah was 6, was a well-respected member of Michigan's Midland Police Department. Micah wanted the officers to come, partly to help fill the void left by his dad, and partly to thank them for all they do for his hometown.
So off went an invitation to Midland Police Chief Cliff Block, the fallen cop's former boss. Weeks went by. Sarah tried to brace her son for the possibility that no officers would come. "It's a Friday night, it's Father's Day weekend," she told Micah. I'm just trying to be momma bear and [set] the expectations low so he wouldn't be disappointed," she said.
What happened stunned them both.
Eighteen police cars, lights blazing and carrying 18 officers in full uniform, slowly paraded past Micah and his guests. The sight "just left me in complete awe and speechlessness," Micah said. "It was car after car after car after car. I just just kinda sat there in shock."
He stumbled for a moment, "trying to figure out what to say because I had no words."
Micah eventually found them. "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,''' recalled his proud mother.
Sarah was also speechless at the display of respect. Every officer got out of his patrol car and stood in a solemn line. "I said to the police chief ... the last time I saw them was at his daddy's funeral, where the police were all lined up. And it took my breath away."
Chad Schieber was only 35 when he dropped dead at mile 18 in the Windy City's marathon. Sarah was running, too, but Chad had sprinted away from her at mile 5 when he kissed her and told her he was going ahead and would meet her at the finish line.
That was the last time she saw him alive. "I always joke that when I get to heaven, I'm going to whack him because he got the wrong finish line."
She can joke now. At the time, she nearly buckled under the pain. "In a heartbeat, I became a 33-year-old widow with three babies."
Micah was 6, Noah was 9 and Abby was 11. Her husband had an undiagnosed condition that contributed to him suffering a massive heart attack.
As the youngest, Micah had arguably the hardest time processing what happened. He remembers he and his siblings were staying with cousins while their parents were in Chicago. "We were woken up very early the next morning," he said. "My pastor from my church was there and he sat us three kids down and just said, 'Your father died while running the Chicago Marathon.' I remember looking across the couch at my sister as she just broke down in tears.
"My brother just kind of sat there in shock. As a 6-year-old, I didn't realize what death was. I didn't realize that meant he's gone. I'll never see him again."
It took a long time for that to sink in.
The little boy sat in front of the family's glass screen door every evening. "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."
That broke his mother's heart. All three of her children waited "for him to walk through the door and say 'Hello' and throw [his] keys on the cabinet in the entryway. They always waited for him."
After Chad died, a friend bought Sarah a king-sized bed. She slept with her children piled around her. People advised her that was setting a bad precedent. No, Sarah said, "If my kids are in three different rooms and they're all crying, I'm not big enough to be in all those rooms. We're all gonna be together and we're all gonna hold each other."
In the morning, Micah's head would be lying on her chest. "He knew at 6 years old that his daddy's heart had stopped beating. He was laying there listening to my heartbeat. I know it."
As a young man, her youngest son has a big heart. And he looks just like his dad.
"His dad was a good man," Sarah said.
Chad was respected by his colleagues and the people he arrested, Micah said.
"His motto was that if you ever arrested someone and they're in the back of your squad car, you know that's one of the lowest times of their life. And so instead of treating 'em like a criminal, you treat 'em like a person."
Micah has only a few memories of his father. They went fishing together. "We were always side by side, doing things together."
If only he had more. "I wish I knew who my father was. I wish I got to figure out the kind of man he was." That is part and parcel of why he invited officers to his graduation party.
So they could "help me figure out who my dad was. It's important to me, because people talk about my dad with such high respect that I want to be just like him."
He also wants "people to talk about me like that when I'm gone." He does remember "how loving and caring of a father he was. I want to be just like that when I have kids someday."
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