David Scheetz: Ahead of his time
Before community inclusion and the emphasis to integrate individuals with disabilities into employment, David Scheetz was already experiencing the feeling of bringing home a steady paycheck while finding his way along the path of life.
I first met David in the early 1980s when I started volunteering for Special Olympics. David participated in the track and basketball teams. He was a natural athlete with an amazing jump shot, composure under pressure and a smile that could light up a room. While throwing the softball, he could easily out-distance the highest level of competition and threaten any windows that were in range of his cannon arm. I recall one playoff basketball game in Medina where David led us to victory accomplishing double figures in points, rebounds and assists (a triple double). He took it all in stride with a modest shrug of his shoulders and went on celebrating the victory with his teammates.
In September of 1986, David was hired by the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities as an Educational Assistant at the Leonard Kirtz School. David’s duties included assisting the instructors with students in the classroom, assisting with mobility and assisting with other programs as directed by the instructors. David held this position for 26 years until his retirement in September of 2012. Over the years I have become a true David Scheetz fan. He strives for the best in himself and looks for the best in others.
In 1995 I had the opportunity to travel to New Haven, Connecticut to watch David compete in the Special Olympics World Games. He was participating as part of the speed skating completion in roller skating. Against world class completion, David won three silver medals. His last race was one of the most exciting sports moments that I have ever witnessed. David took the lead in the four lap race from the very beginning and held on until the last corner when he slipped and fell. Regaining his footing, he sprinted to the finish line and barely missed winning the gold medal. Many other athletes would have quit and accepted a lesser outcome but this is not within David’s character.
Currently David helps out as a volunteer with the Track Team and participates in the Bowling and Volleyball teams where he has helped lead the team to over a decade of State Championships in Volleyball. He enjoys YSU Basketball games and is active with his family and in his community.
David displays a positive attitude in everything he attempts. He never gives up on his goals and truly exemplifies everything that is good in life and what it means to be a good person. I am very proud to call him my friend.