First responders pay tribute to Lisa Scheuermann


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tribute to Lisa Scheuerman


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  • Lisa Scheuermann and her family.




  • “Lisa was a mainstay at GOVAC," said GOVAC President George Lyons. "Throughout the years she served in virtually all of the line and administrative positions within the corps.”




By WENDY BYNUM-WADE

It seemed as if the entire Village of Goshen was on fire or was in the middle of a crisis. There were ambulances, fire and EMT chase cars, police cars and firetrucks lined up along Main Street, not for an emergency, but for the funeral of a woman who devoted her entire adult life to serving as a first responder.

This wasn’t an ordinary funeral, but then again, Lisa Scheuermann was not an ordinary person.

First responders and political leaders from throughout Orange County, as well as EMS representatives from the state level all braved the rain to cram into the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church in Goshen last weekend to pay homage to Lisa Scheuermann.

Her obituary and the many tributes on Facebook since her passing on Mother’s Day detailed her career and contributions to the community-at-large.

For most of the week after her death, accolades poured in from all over because of her 28 years as an emergency dispatcher for the New Windsor Police Department and 35+ years as an active member of GOVAC (Goshen’s Volunteer Ambulance Corp); or because she trained hundreds of local police officers and EMT’s in First Aid and CPR.

She was also praised for her work with the Goshen Fire Department’s three companies and for serving as an associate member of the Cataract house.

In recent years, she had assumed responsibility for being a deputy coordinator for Orange County EMS. Yet another volunteer position, Lisa was the central contact for any accident, fire activity or medical emergency within her district.

If it happened in District 5, Lisa was there to help. Although certainly the above yields a formidable resume, that’s not the reason 350+ people came out in the pouring rain to sit in uniform, shoulder to shoulder, for a chance to say goodbye to a treasured colleague.

Lisa’s accomplishments in the greater community were amazing. But the reason for the outpouring of love and support for Lisa and her family has been because of HOW she did those jobs and because of WHO she was on and off the job.

Village of Goshen Police Chief James Watt graduated from Goshen High School with Lisa in 1979. The chief says the amazing thing about Lisa was that “she never changed; after all these years of working together on community events or emergency situations in the Village, she was still the same person he knew growing up in Goshen. For me, this is a tremendous personal and professional loss.”

In the other end of the county, New Windsor Police Department lost a highly regarded dispatcher. Department Chief Richard Hovey said “we are in shock. In 28 years, she never complained; not about anything in her life, her health or even the difficult people or situations she often dealt with here on the job.”

Hovey also remarked that “she was always smiling, always a calming influence regardless of the situation. Lisa was always there for us; training virtually all of our police officers in First Aid and CPR.”

GOVAC President George Lyons reflected on Lisa’s 35 years as a first responder in her hometown. Joining in 1983 after graduating from college in Oklahoma, Lyons said, “Lisa was a mainstay at GOVAC. Throughout the years she served in virtually all of the line and administrative positions within the corps.”

Regardless of what position or title she had at any given time, Lisa was known to be the “go-to” person for all things GOVAC. That was because she always went the extra mile; checking in on corps members who might have experienced a bad call,the kind no first responder wants to deal with. Other agencies offer an 800 number to their members if they can’t handle a call or incident.

Not in Goshen, because there was Lisa. Often referred to as “Mama” by hundreds of first responders from throughout the county, Lisa was known as someone who cared more than most and followed up that caring attitude by doing whatever was necessary to help in any given situation.

Lyons also noted that Lisa had taken it upon herself to help GOVAC by pursuing various grant opportunities. Her initiative resulted in providing GOVAC with new “Annies”, the doll-like figures used to teach CPR techniques and several other pieces of vital equipment too expensive for the non-profit to afford on their own. Another long-term GOVAC volunteer, Sarah Lyons, also spoke at the funeral service. She regarded Lisa as an indispensable mentor to many first responders, herself included. She quoted from the Broadway musical “Wicked” in speaking of Lisa Scheuermann: “Because I have known you, I have been changed for the better. I have been changed for the good!” As evidenced by the turnout at the funeral home on Friday and again at the church service on Saturday, it’s a good bet that most of the attendees felt the same way.

Most people would be satisfied by the legacy described thus far, but again, not Lisa Scheuermann. Anyone that truly knew Lisa knew that she considered her greatest accomplishment to be her roles as wife to Bill Scheuermann for the last 23 years and as mom to Shannon Stansfield and her husband Wayne Stansfield and to Charles “Chuckie” Gambuti and his significant other, Michelle Roberts. Many families hope that at least one of their offspring will follow in their footsteps; for the Scheuermann’s, they’ve all joined the family business as first responders close to home. One of the comments made at the funeral home calling hours was that “After the fire at Goshen’s Historic Track last summer was out; she was so proud that her husband and her kids were all on hand working side by side to save a community treasure and to keep the livestock and fellow responders safe at the same time.”

As legacies go, Lisa has left a substantial one. As part of that legacy, how will the family remember the Lisa they shared with the community?: as a woman of great passion for helping others and as one who was committed to helping the people she loved.

Lisa and Bill loved all things Disney, including the “Mickey” bush in front of their Goshen home. That explains the family getaways to Disney World in Florida and the display case in their home of Disney collectibles. She was also a country music fan and relished the many concerts they attended for country artists since the opening of Bethel Woods. Lisa loved to cruise, so much so that she became a travel consultant in her spare time, helping others discover the joys of cruising and/or finding the best ways to visit Disney.

Joining the “family business” in the Scheuermann household meant checking egos at the door and always being ready to give up personal plans to respond to the needs of the community. Bill Scheuermann remembers planning a special dinner for their first anniversary but instead of a table for two in a nice restaurant they spent the evening working together at the scene of an accident. It was a predictor of the years ahead as no plan was safe if an emergency arose.

Bill has been an EMT for 27 years and a member of the Cataract Fire Company for as long as he can remember. Serving in every office from historian to captain at least once, Bill shared Lisa’s commitment to community and attributes those shared values for getting them together in the first place. They first met at one of Goshen’s infamous block parties following the 1993 fireman’s parade. They started talking, then dating and two years later they wed. Few couples can claim the type of mutual love and respect for each other so evident whenever they were together at home or out in public.

Daughter Shannon graduated from Arizona State with a degree in IT project management and puts that background to use in her day job with Mediacom as a project manager. She credits her mother with instilling in her the love of travel and for passing on the passion for helping others. Shannon became a member of GOVAC in 2007 and is currently the treasurer for the Dikeman company as well as the secretary/treasurer for the Goshen Fire Council (a layer between the three individual companies and the district-wide Board of Commissioners) Of course she is also a responding firefighter and is often seen at the site of emergencies large and small.

Son-in-law Wayne Stansfield says he felt like part of the family from the minute he met Bill and Lisa. In fact, he’s quick to point out that he was “part of the family before I ever knew Shannon existed!” Wayne was a firefighter in Slate Hill first and then joined the Dikeman company. He worked at GOVAC and Mobile Life. His day job is as an emergency dispatcher for the Orange County 9-1-1 center.

Son Chuckie says he “was destined to become a firefighter since before he was born, tracing his roots back to the service of great grandparents, grandparents and father as firefighters.” Chuckie and Shannon both have childhood memories of playing at the ambulance bay as kids while mom was busy training others in First Aid and/or CPR. Chuck’s day job is as a paid EMT for the Town of Wallkill Ambulance Corps. As a volunteer he has served GOVAC as well as just about every line position at the Dikeman company. Both Chuck and Shannon were certified as EMT’s before graduating high school; Chuck joined the Dikeman’s at the age of 16.

How would Lisa want people to remember her? Bill says she would want everyone she met to “live for today because tomorrow is never promised to any of us.” Wayne says “she had a never-ending drive to keep learning and then to share her knowledge with others. Mom did that with every project or assignment she ever took on; and she expected those around her to do the same.” Shannon told the crowd gathered at the church Saturday morning that her mother would be appalled and embarrassed by all the fuss and attention her death had garnered this week. “She was a very “behind the scenes” kind of person; much more concerned with getting the job done than claiming credit.”

It will be impossible to replace Lisa Scheuermann, but it will be possible to honor her legacy and her life by reaching out to care for others. Volunteer for anything you’re passionate about, check in on your neighbors, treat each person you meet as someone who might need your help. Lisa will live on in our collective hearts if we emulate the life she lived; giving of herself in any way possible to anyone who might need her. Rest in Peace Lisa. The grateful community you loved will take it from here.

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