It is the mid 1970s. A young boy of 10 or 11 is dropped off the school bus at his parent's store where they have living quarters in the back He opens the door to find his mother tied up and young men ransacking the store for money and groceries. He and his mother are severely beaten and left for dead by the young men who had already committed armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder. His mother, my mother's youngest sister, was somehow able to manage the situation so as to protect her son and herself and was able to identify one of the young men. She had the strength to testify in court and the two men are serving several life sentences in the Michigan prison system. The young boy was Mike Schepke.
This fall Mike went for a walk down the side road as he had nearly every day for years. When the time passed for him to return, he had vanished. The K-9 dog lost his trail at the spot where he always turned around to head home. They searched, but Mike was gone.
A few years ago they searched for an elderly man. The K-9 dog Bane lost the trail. The dog ran off during the search. There were flyers and news stories searching for Bane for months. The search for Mike and his trail has gone cold after a few days.
As we turn the calendar page to a new year it is a time to reflect upon our own lives and the lives of those who are near to us. Not all of us know or knew Mike. What did he do to deserve the path that his life took and have we done enough to bring meaning to his contribution?