Want to help?
Brooklet United Methodist Church is holding a "Chicken Dinner Fundraiser" for the Schmidt’s. The dinners will be available for pick-up (or delivery) between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday, March 30.
Anyone in Bulloch County ordering eight or more dinners and have them delivered to their residence or place of business. The dinners are $5 a plate.
To order call Deb Anderson (912) 690-2425, Liz Bland (912) 682-9976, or the church office (912) 842-2908. Orders must be placed and paid for by March 26.
Ronnie Schmidt worked for nearly a decade for Billy Hendrix at the Brooklet CITGO, which sits on the corner of the small town’s one flashing light. From his vantage point, Ronnie saw, and was seen by, almost everyone.
On Feb. 16, Schmidt was coming back to work after running several errands in Statesboro. Near the intersection of Highway 80 and Cody Lane, he had to swerve to miss several stopped cars.
What happened next forever changed the lives of his wife Judy, his daughter Samantha, and his son Christopher. Ronnie's car hit a culvert and rolled over, flipping at least once.
Judy Schmidt said when she arrived at the scene it didn't look all that bad, as Ronnie did not seem to be cut or bleeding. Once they arrived at East Georgia Regional Medical Center, everything changed.
Doctors told her Ronnie's injuries were much worse than she believed — he had broken his neck. While Judy absorbed the news, they waited for the arrival of the Life Star helicopter.
After Schmidt arrived at Memorial Hospital's Regional Trauma Center, doctors conducted numerous tests to determine the extent of his injuries. Over the next two weeks his condition, and his prognosis, kept getting worse.
After staying in a local motel for 10 days, her brother-in-law brought a camping trailer for her to use so that she would be no more than a moment away at all times.
Ronnie Schmidt was totally paralyzed, and could not even breathe on his own. Despite efforts to save him, Ronnie Schmidt passed away March 8.
Sadly, the Schmidt family was no stranger to tragedy. Friends remember the day that son Chris was shot while on a hunting trip in 2005.
When he arrived at the hospital, doctors discovered that his injuries were both extensive and extreme. Christopher was sent to the Shriners Children's Hospital in Philadelphia for further treatment.
Here, Ronnie and Judy learned their son would never walk again. After four months Chris finally returned home. Since then, the Schmidt’s have done what they could to ensure both children lead full and productive lives.
About her late husband, Judy said: "Ronnie was the most loving father and husband. He was also the hardest-working man I have ever known."
Her son Chris said, "I couldn't have ever asked for a better father."
William Hendrix, Schmidt's boss, also was his mentor and friend. Hendrix said: "Ronnie was the kind of guy who would do anything at anytime for anybody and never expect anything in return. He was that kind of man."
Friends now are trying to help the family recover from the tragedy and get back on its feet.
One issue the family is dealing with is the hydraulic lift used to get Chris in the family van isn't working.
Also, the handicapped ramp into the house, built by Schmidt when Chris came back from the hospital, is worn out and needs to be repaired. And the roof on their house is leaking and needs to either be repaired or replaced.
Finally, the family has two small laptops so that when Chris is in the hospital they can communicate. Both recently stopped working.
To try to help out, Brooklet United Methodist Church, the family’s church, is going to hold a "Chicken Dinner Fundraiser" for the Schmidt’s. The dinners will be available for pick-up (or delivery) between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday, March 30.
Anyone in Bulloch County can order eight or more dinners and have them delivered by church members to their residence or place of business.
For $5 a plate, you receive 1/4 grilled chicken, green beans, potato salad, a dinner roll, and a dessert, all prepared at the church in Brooklet.
All orders must be placed and paid for by March 26, so that there will be time to order the chicken. To place an order call Deb Anderson (912) 690-2425, Liz Bland (912) 682-9976, or the church office (912) 842-2908.