Funeral home gives back to community, celebrates 10 years in business | News, Sports, Jobs

GETTING DOWN — Holly Claypole danced with her granddaughter Julianna Manns, 3, to the music of Twice as Nice during the Schuetz Funeral Home Community Giveback Day. — Christopher Dacanay

MINGO JUNCTION — To celebrate 10 years in business, Schuetz Funeral Home went all-out with a free Community Giveback Day including food, music and fireworks.

Jeffrey Schuetz, owner and director of the funeral home, is known for well-attended community events, particularly his Halloween in Mingo bashes. For this event, attendees made their way to the pavilion in Aracoma Park for yet another event that Schuetz said he wanted to go above and beyond for.

Schuetz said of the giveback day, “It’s been 10 years and I wanted to show my appreciation.”

Funnel cakes, freshly cut fries, hotdogs, snow cones, gelato, lemonade and kettle popcorn were all on the menu at the entirely free giveback day. Schuetz said he owns and operates many of his own concessions equipment, which was used for the event.

Kids could play games inside the pavilion to win prizes, and caricatures were offered nearby, drawn by artist Sam Thong.

VOLUNTEERS — Jeffrey Schuetz, third from left, owner and director of Schuetz Funeral Home, posed with volunteers and friends during the funeral home’s 10-year celebration and free Community Giveback Day. From left, back: Jeffrey Schuetz, Chris Orris, Janet McLaughlin, Mike McLaughlin. Front: Police Chief Willie McKenzie, Gary Schuetz, Becky Pesta, Aleecia Gordon, Nancy Nicosia, Sarah Malecha, Debbie Schuetz, Vince Maskivish, Kellie Paugh and Leanna Roe. — Christopher Dacanay

For music, the disco, funk and pop cover band Twice as Nice later performed, drawing plenty to the dance floor.

Holly Claypole, who danced with her granddaughter Julianna Manns, 3, approved of Twice as Nice’s song choice. She said, “They’re all good songs. They’ve got the crowd going.”

Jane Herron was one of many self-proclaimed “groupies” for Twice as Nice. Herron said she and a handful of others at the giveback day love Twice as Nice so much that they follow the band around to see them perform.

“They’re just a fun group,” Herron said.

Following Twice as Nice was a performance by party band the White Collar Criminals. The night was concluded with a fireworks show lit off by Schuetz.

Schuetz said he received some feedback from others before the event, saying that his expenses for the giveback were “too much,” to which Schuetz said, “It is what it is.”

“Ten years, why not have a nice event?” Schuetz said.

Days before the giveback, Schuetz said he had acquired around 2,000 hotdogs in preparation for a large crowd, to be expected considering the Halloween bash’s usual attendance. Schuetz estimated the Halloween bash draws around 1,200 people.

The giveback day had a hefty volunteer presence helping to pull everything off. Among the volunteers serving ice cream and snow cones were Chris Orris of Valley Hospice, who serves in the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassadors Club with Schuetz, and Melissa Brown, dean of academics for Toronto City Schools.

Brown said she wanted to help Schuetz with the giveback day in return for his assistance with Toronto City Schools. She said Schuetz donates his snow cone machine and syrups so students can run a stand during school to raise money for a Toronto food pantry.

Becky and Patricia Pesta of Pesta’s Country Store in Mingo Junction also volunteered. Patricia Pesta said they often help Schuetz whenever he is hosting something for the community, including Halloween in Mingo.

Becky Pesta said positively that last year’s Halloween event’s attendance was “out of the house with people. It was a madhouse.”

“(Schuetz) is always doing something for people,” Becky Pesta said. “He always likes giving somebody the benefit of the doubt.”

Sarah Malecha and Laura Risdon of Softite Federal Credit Union ran a table giving out information on the credit union, as well as water and snacks, at the giveback day. Malecha said they wanted to support Schuetz.

Police Chief Willie McKenzie of the Mingo Junction Police Department, said the department has worked with Schuetz before during his Halloween event. McKenzie said that for all of his events, “Jeffrey does it big.”

“I definitely appreciate what he’s trying to do,” McKenzie said. “It’s positive for the community. It brings everybody out, you get to know who your neighbor is, and it also builds trust in the community foundation.”

Also helping at the giveback day were Jeffrey Schuetz’s parents, Gary and Debbie Schuetz. Both of them helped to prepare the various snow cone syrups, the process for which Debbie Schuetz said involves 25 pounds of sugar mixed with water and flavoring.

“He’s a good kid,” Debbie Schuetz said of Jeffrey Schuetz, adding that he paid for all of the giveback day’s amenities himself. “He puts people out there first. He helps anybody and everybody.”

Gary Schuetz said Jeffrey Schuetz could have overdone the giveback day’s amenities. However, he said that Jeffrey Schuetz has a “big heart” and he always does everything big, no matter what it is.

Volunteer Nancy Nicosia agreed that Jeffrey Schuetz overdoes things, but she said, “He just likes people. … He wants people to have fun.”

Schuetz said the funeral home is celebrating 10 years, but that is not the ultimate purpose of the event. The purpose, he said, is to provide a good event to unite people, something that he said was generally lacking while he was growing up.

“I just want to see people have a good time and get together,” Schuetz said. “Families shouldn’t have to get together just for funerals.”

Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content