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Joe’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.

Joe Schmitz was taken in for unexpected surgery for a bulging disc in his neck on Thursday, March, 20, 2014.  After a successful surgery fusing two of his vertebrae he was released from the hospital on Friday around noon.  He returned home with his family but developed complications when an artery ruptured in his neck pressing against his airway.   As his wife, Stacy, drove him to the hospital an ambulance was requested and they met the ambulance in Cold Spring for an intercept to pick up Joe.  After he got into the ambulance he deteriorated rapidly and the ambulance crew was forced to take life saving measures including performing CPR and opening an emergency tracheotomy.  Joe arrived at the St. Cloud Hospital under Code Blue conditions.  It is believed that Joe was without oxygen for a significant amount of time.  He was rushed into surgery to repair the ruptured artery and close up the emergency tracheotomy which was replaced with a smaller placed tracheotomy to assist him in breathing.  The artery was repaired without incident however the amount  of time that Joe was without oxygen has become the largest hurdle to overcome.  Joe  is currently being sedated to attempt to allow his brain to heal.  He is breathing with the assistance of the tracheotomy and a ventilator.

Latest Journal Update

A year later

Dear Daddy, Its Andrew! Dad, I’m in Kindergarten!  Daddy, I miss you and I love you!  Mom misses and loves you too. Our whole family misses you and loves you. All of our friends miss you and the Sartell Police Department misses you too, Dad! Mom tells me it’s been one-year since we lost you. I don’t really know what that means; I just know I miss my best friend. I ask for you all of the time. We cry often for you. Mom and I talk about you often. We often talk about “remember when Daddy…”.  Daddy, you should see how big I’ve gotten. I’m so tall now. I’m tall enough to go down the big tall slides at the Waterpark in Willmar this summer; I can hardly wait! Mom says I have your long strong legs.  Just last week I needed new athletic shoes for school. I told Mom she could stop and pick them out for me. Mom bought me the fastest pair of shoes she could find.You would not believe how fast I can run now! I’m really good at riding my bikes too. Thank you for teaching me how to ride bike.  I tell Mom often, if we jump high; really high; high over the clouds we could all be together again with you.

Hey – Dad! Mom has taken me to Florida two times. We went to Clearwater first. At the Clearwater Aquarium Mom made me feel the stingrays. Secretly, Daddy, I was so scared of touching the stingrays but once the Trainer helped me to feed the first one I was good; it was so cool!  I hate airplane rides. I don’t like sitting for that long.  And, I really can’t be quite for a long time.  Nora came along with us to Clearwater. We went on a Pirate’s Ship cruise of the bay, it was fun! We went to Sanibel Island with Robby, Abby, Nate, and Nora and their family this winter. The boys went fishing; I caught a couple of fish.  I picked out a VW Beetle for our rental car. You should have seen Mom trying to get our suitcase in the trunk. She tried for a very long time; I was getting bored waiting for her. She was pushing it with her rear-end, flipping it from side to side, she finally pushed it with her foot when it popped inside. I was laughing so hard at Mom, I told her “Mom, you look ridiculous!”  She said, “You chose the smallest car in 200 miles of the airport!” I think Mom was frustrated. Suddenly she got a huge smile on her face and told me to get in the back seat and put my seat belts on. Dad! I’m so big, I didn’t fit!  Mom said I looked like a grasshopper trying to ride on the back of a ladybug in the back seat of that tiny car. Then she said, “Now who is frustrated?”  I got to ride in the front seat our whole vacation; now that was fun!  Mom said I was her wing man.  Mom took me on a Valentine’s Day picnic on the beach at Captiva Island. It was awesome until Mom set up the picnic food on our beach towel. Suddenly a gull swarmed and attacked Mom from behind and stolet he food right out of her fingers. It even left a bite mark on her finger. Dad,you should have heard Mom screaming!  I was laughing so hard I was bent over. Then she screamed at me, “Do something! Help me!”  I chased the gulls away from Mom.  Dad, there were like a 100 gulls swarming Mom.

Guess what Dad?  Santa Claus delivered our Christmas gifts to us Christmas morning.  I felt really sad when I woke up Christmas morning and it was empty under our Christmas tree. Mom said, “Maybe you woke up too early, go back to sleep.” I just couldn’t sleep. Mom said, let’s get up and get ready for the day.  I was in the kitchen and Mom was in her bathroom when Mom came running down the hallway and said she could hear jingle bells. Suddenly there was a knock on our front door.Dad, it was Santa!  I said to him, “Come in, Santa. Come in!” Santa read me a Christmas story book. Santa brought me all five of the gifts I wrote to him and asked for. I also asked Santa to bring Moma ring. He did! Mom was so surprised!  We had another emergency with my nut allergy. I accidently got a nut in a cookie after my school Christmas Program. Mom had to rush me to the Emergency Room;Daddy, I was so scared! Do you remember when you rushed me to the Emergency room?   Once we entered into the“observation period” I wouldn’t lay down and rest no matter how much the nurses suggested I do so, and I wouldn’t let Mom rest either. I kept elbowing her in her ribs to keep her awake.  We left the hospital at 4am. I fell immediately asleep in my chair seat!  Mom had to drive home.

Dad I got to go pheasant hunting the day before Thanksgiving. Steve-O, Bruce, and Schultzy took us boy’s pheasant hunting. It was so much fun!  I did really well. I didn’t get tired at all. I kept right up with everyone. They said our pheasant hunting trip is going to become a tradition. I'm so excited! Dad, it was funny when Bruce broke through the ice on the stream.  He got wet.  I didn’t break through the ice because they flung me over the stream.  You would be so proud of Manhattan she caught a pheasant without it even being shot; she just caught it in her mouth. She’s a really good hunting dog.  Guess what, Dad?  Manhattan had a puppy. One chubby little black puppy.  Steve-O has her. Steve-O named her Aces; the same name as your first black lab.  Aces is going to be a really good hunting dog too.

I started Kindergarten. I really like school. At first it was really, really hard because I don’t like being apart from Mom. I like all of the classes. I’m becoming a really good reader. I am really good at math too. I love playing the math games.  I tell Mom every night I don’t know how to read just so she will read to me.  She says every night she is perplexed because all her friends told her their kids were reading to them at bed time by time it was Christmas in Kindergarten and I’m not. I’m going to trick her as long as I can because I like it when she reads to me at bed time. Hey Dad! I lost two teeth. The tooth fairy brought me $3 for each of the teeth.  I’m also getting a molar tooth; it hurts! There are just 10 students in my class so we are good friends.  My teacher, Mrs. Iverson, is fantastic!  I had been having a lot of neck aches, headaches, and stomach aches when school first started until about Christmas time. Mrs. Iverson has helped me get rid of some of them. Mom told me she cries every day. Now that I know I can cry every day too, most of my aches are gone.  I don’t really want Kindergarten to end, though I am sort of getting excited to be in 1st grade. 

Mom and I joined Grandpa and Grandma on their pontoon for the annual Nord Lake 4th of July boat parade. Grandpa let me drive the pontoon with him. I honked the horn! When the parade was finished Grandpa took Craigy and I fishing. Dad, I caught a huge bass! Huge!  Mom kept the bass in the freezer in your shop. She’s going to have it mounted so we can hang it in the man cave right beside your huge bass.

Hey Dad! Auntie DeeDee, Uncle Dan, Kendra, Mom, and I went to the opening morning of Toyland. It was so much fun. You should have seen all of the toys.  We got coffee on our way.We walked up and down every aisle in Toyland looking at all of the toys. I got to buy an excavator. Mom gave me the money. I paid for it all by myself.  DeeDee, Dan, and Kendra take really good care of me. Sometimes, when Mom has something going on, I get to go to their house and sleep over night.  This last time I was there Dan took me to the Shorewood Fire Department. One of the Firefighters seen us looking around outside the department, he invited us inside and gave us a tour. At the end, he gave me a real actual Firefighter helmet. A real one,Dad!  I love it. I took it to school to show all of my friends.  Mom told me she ran into Trooper Tony Mazzone a few weeks ago; guess what, Dad? He has a real Trooper’s hat for me!  I can’t wait to get that hat. I am going to take it to school and show my friends too.   Uncle Dan also took me to the World War II museum in Granite Falls. That was super cool. I can’t wait to go back. Mom says she will take me again this summer.  Mom also took me to the Science Museum. Dad, there is a real mummy there. It’s creepy! And so cool all at the same time. It’s missing some toes.

Michael, Andon, and Jace came and spent a week at our house last summer. Michael took us to Buermann’s Resort.  He took us fishing too. We went to the movie “Planes Fire and Rescue 2”. While Michael was here Grandma Martha cooked the snapping turtle you had in the freezer. We had all the people over who enjoy eating the turtle for supper.  We also all went to the parade in Richmond. You should have seen how much candy Andon,Jace, and I collected. Our bags were full. Grandma Martha takes care of me sometimes.  She picks me up from school once in awhile.  I stay with her sometimes when I have a day off from school. We play together, cook or bake.  We have started going to the nursing home visiting the people who live there. I like to bring them treats.  If we go to Grandma’s house in Roscoe we usually walk around town visiting people. I like going to check on the church. Make sure everything is ok. Once,last summer, I found a bat inside the church. Dad, do you remember the time we were on a walk and you and I checked out the whole church for Marleen to make sure everything was ok. I loved that. Now I know just where to look to make sure the church is secure so I can take care of it for Grandma and Marleen.

During the summer Lehmkuhl, Brenda, and Randi came out a couple of times and helped us plant some new gardens around your shop. It was one of my favorites from the summer.  Mom and I have plans for another new garden this summer; Lehmkuhl says they’ll be out to help us build it out!  I love it when Bruce, Tracey, and Joe come over and help us too. Mom calls them a lot!  Just like the first snow blizzard of the year. Mom got our car stuck right in the middle of the driveway.  Kurt and Whitey pulled our car out of the snow drift.  Bruce, Tracey, and Joseph cleared our driveway.  Dad, Joseph and I get to shoot the striped gophers in our yard when they come over.  You should have seen once when Mom got mad at the striped gophers and decided “to take matters into her own hands”. It was funny!  She missed by a mile. But Dad,she was bobbing and weaving try to hold your gun up she was never going to hit the broadside of a barn.  I told Mom,“Dad didn’t move around!” 

We get to see Uncle Riley and Jan often. Mom calls them alot for help too!  Uncle Riley helped Uncle David, Bruce, and Schultzy build a pergola beside your shop during the summer. Mom and I love the pergola. We spend a lot of time on the pergola. Mom hangs out and reads or relaxes while I play my squads and fire trucks under the pergola. Uncle Riley fixes stuff that breaks around our house. I got to hang out with Jan, TJ, and Jo-Jo during a day off from school because of a blizzard. Jan baked us cookies while we played. 

Dad your partners at the Sartell Police Department miss you too!  It has been a while since we have been up there to visit everyone, Mom says we will go again soon.  When we go up there I love going in the garage and checking out all of the equipment. Especially the mobile command unit. I love sitting inside and seeing all of the equipment. Mom and I were up there this summer and brought home all of your stuff from your locker and your desk. Dan helped us pack your stuff up and bring it home. He took us out for lunch too.  Kari had some bracelets made with your name on them. Jill took me "patrolling" in the parking lot. There is also a display for you there too.  They missed you at the annual “Shop with a Cop” at the Wal-Mart in Sartell during the Christmas season.  Mom said that was one of your favorite events.  We are going with a bunch of families from the Police Department out to dinner and to a show at the Paramount  in April. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Daddy, I miss you so much! I ask for you all of the time. You were my best friend.  Mom and I remember you all of the time. We love to share our memories with each other. Mom says this has been the longest shortest year ever. I don’t know what that means either. I just know that we love you and we miss you so much. I tell Mom that I think heaven is taking good care of you.  Mom says while we miss you so much and love you the most ever she hopes you are living your dream; hunting, fishing, and gathering every day.

26 people hearted this



Natalie Todnem
By Natalie Utsch
Stacy & Andrew, what a great posting you both have written. We think about you guys often and are always praying for you. Hugs to you guys!!
1 person hearted this
Deanna Heath
By Hugs-- Deanna
What a wonderful mom and wife you are. Andrew is truly blessed to have you as his mom. I am sure you feel so very blessed to have him too. Your words are so heartfelt and your memories wonderful. I hope God continues to bless and watch over you both.
Kevin and Diane Gorder
By Diane and Kevin Gorder
Can't believe the time has passed by so quickly. Thanks for the updates and Stories about Andrew. Your doing a great job, Stacy. Hugs to you both. Stay strong.
Rita  Ackerman
By Rita Ackerman
Beautifully written Stacy! Andrew is so blessed to have you as his mom and Joe is smiling down at you both from heaven. Love and hugs.
Amanda Schreiner
By Amanda Schreiner
Andrew is so lucky to have you as a mom. This is a very touching post. I think of you often!
Lois Gertken
By Lois Gertken
Stacy you are such an amazing person! Andrew is as well! Joe would be so proud of how you are raising your son. I love hearing memories of Joe! Miss him!
Kari Bonfield
By Kari Bonfield
beautiful, just beautiful. miss him....prayers for you guys
Margie Oleson
By Margie Oleson
Blessings, Stacy! If Andrew is reading this (secretly), here is a hug, Andrew. And Andrew, Lily is ready to hang out again. She didn't meet your dad, but she is SO glad to know you. Love, Margie
Mark & Sharon Schouviller
By Mark & Sharon
Always on our minds and in our thoughts and prayers Stacy. You are an amazing person.
Maggie Utsch
By Maggie Utsch
This is so beautiful. My heart and prayers are with you and Andrew!