York remembers fallen officers

John Joyce

York City police officer Henry Schaad was 22 years old when he was shot and killed in the line of duty during the 1969 race riots.

According to the York City Police Department website, a round fired from a rifle penetrated an armored bank truck Schaad was riding in. The bullet fragmented and struck Schaad in the chest, causing severe internal injuries. He succumbed two weeks later, leaving behind a wife and a 5-year-old daughter, Sharon.

From left, Deputies Michael Lutz, Steven Perkins, Brett Wallace and Peter Gasselin, of the York County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard Team advances the colors during the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day Remembrance ceremony at Prospect Hill Cemetery in York City, Sunday, May 15, 2016. May 15 was designated as Peace Officers Memorial Day by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. Dawn J. Sagert  photo

On Sunday, despite the cold, windy conditions, Sharon Schaad accompanied her uncle, Barry Schaad, along with a handful of community members and city leaders to a hillside ceremony in Prospect Hill Cemetery in honor of National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day, remembering the men and women of law enforcement who have died in the line of duty.

“We remember him every day, but of course it’s nice when the community and others remember him as well,” Sharon said. “As well as the other officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty."

The ceremony, held below the Safekeeper’s Shrine at the cemetery, also marked the start of National Police Week, during which ceremonies will be held across the country and in Washington, D.C.

In years past, the Schaads have made the trip to D.C.,where at times they endured rain and other adverse weather conditions, Barry Schaad said. This year, however, the Schaads remembered their loved one at home, where he served.

“Normally we go to Washington, D.C., but this year we decided to come here locally instead,” Sharon said

Mayor Kim Bracey delivered the memorial service’s keynote speech. Bracey, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, concluded her remarks by raising her hand to her brow and rendering the traditional sign of respect to the fallen.

“I salute you,” she said.

York City councilman Henry Nixon read the names of all York County law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The reading of the names was followed by the playing of Taps, and a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

York County Sheriff Richard Keuerleber attended Sunday’s service, both in an official capacity and to remember a friend, deputy Edward “Skip” Schroeder Jr., he said. Schroeder collapsed and died in 2005 during the 12th lap of an exercise run at the deputy sheriff’s training academy in State College.

Although the weather might not have been, the setting for the ceremony was ideal, Keuerleber said.

“The Safekeeper’s Shrine is a place everyone can come and honor the fallen who’ve (paid) the ultimate price. Not only to honor the police, law enforcement, EMT and fire, Keuerleber said. “I think we took an oath to never forget the fallen; and this is a place that we can do it.

“This is a place that the community can come and I think Prospect Hill Cemetery did an excellent job.”

— Reach John Joyce at jjoyce2@yorkdispatch.comor on Twitter at@JohnJoyceYD