October 20, 2010
"Eulogy for Sgt. Joseph Schuengel, Missouri State Highway Patrol"
We are here to remember the life and to mourn the passing of a brave and honorable man, whose commitment to serving others is an inspiration to all of us, Sergeant Joseph Schuengel.
Georganne and I are pained by this loss and extend our deepest sympathies to his family, his friends, and his fellow officers.
Certain, special people take an oath to serve. Sergeant Joseph Schuengel was one of these.
They may wear the uniform of our armed forces or our police, our firefighters or our troopers. They may serve down the block or around the globe, on our streets or in our skies.
But they are alike in one fundamental way.
They have a spirit that compels them to run toward trouble – not away from it.
They put their safety aside to protect ours.
They put their lives on the line for all of us – when we are scared, when we are hurt… when we are in danger, or in need.
Out where the ice is thin… and the storm rages… and the fire burns hottest… and the bullets fly… that’s where you’ll find them.
The work they do – without complaint – is not for the faint of heart.
That is the work Joe Schuengel chose.
And that work will continue.
There will be more dangers to face tomorrow… and the day after that… and the day after that.
And if I could talk to every man and woman serving in our armed forces around the globe, and to each and every one of our troopers, police officers, and firefighters across the great state of Missouri, I would tell them this:
Your dedication and professionalism stir our hearts and inspire us, just like Joe Schuengel did.
You honor us by the manner in which you live your lives, like Joe did.
Not just on the days that Fate may thrust you into the spotlight, but every day.
Because to my way of thinking, what you do every day – day in and day out – is heroic.
From the moment you get out of bed, put on that uniform, grab a cup of coffee and kiss your loved ones goodbye – from the moment you step outside into the sunlight or the starlight to face whatever dangers might lurk there – that, to me, is heroism.
Among all those who take the sacred oath of service, there is a bond.
A bond of friendship.
A bond of duty.
A bond of self-sacrifice.
And that bond is unbreakable.
It grows stronger in adversity.
It transcends time. It endures beyond death.
We know the pain of losing a brother, a man who lived life to the fullest in service to others. And we share it.
But we also take heart from that exemplary life. Even as we mourn this tragic loss, we are lifted up by Joe’s spirit and courage.
Some folks live an entire lifetime and wonder if they’ve ever made a difference in the world. People like Joe Schuengel don’t have that problem.
As his mother, Georgiana… his sisters, Suzanne, Barbara and Adrianne… and his many friends and colleagues gather to lay Sergeant Schuengel to rest today, know that our state is a better place because of his service. May he rest – peacefully, joyfully – in the knowledge that he made a difference in the world.