Road America explorer gets to ride again

When Road America was first constructed in 1955, Ed Schmitt drove his car around the then-gravel track. Now, at age 93, with the help of staff at Road America, the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice, and others, Schmitt was able to ride the 4-mile track once again. — Submitted photo

At age 93, Ed Schmitt has done and seen a lot of things during his life. A longtime resident of Cleveland, WI, Ed owned and operated Lakeshore Metals for 45 years, is a devoted husband of 58 years to his bride, Joan, and a loving father to nine children. The stories in his life are rich.

One such story resonated with Judy Walthers, a Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice patient care volunteer, who visited Ed at Rocky Knoll Health Center on a weekly basis this summer.  Judy and her husband, Bryan, reside during the summer at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI and work during the races and other events at the track.  So when Ed shared his memories of working part-time for a local Elkhart Lake farmer during the summer of 1955 when the track was being constructed, Judy was listening.

After a day of working on the farm and before the fences were installed around the track, Ed decided to take his 1949 Ford for a spin around the gravel track.  He admitted that he didn’t go very fast because of the gravel, but as he shared the story you could see his face light up as he recounted that day.  That was the first and only time Ed was at the track. That’s when Judy jumped into action to plan an excursion for Ed to see Road America.

On October 7, 2019, as Ed’s family and his SSRCH care team gathered in his room at Rocky Knoll Health Center to celebrate his 93rd birthday, Judy with the help of Road America, A&J Mobility and Judy’s husband, Bryan, as the driver, shuttled the group to the track for a 4-mile cruise. When asked about his ride Ed said with a twinkle in his eyes and a huge smile, “it was neat.”

Having worked at a non-profit hospice in Kenosha and as a volunteer with Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice for the past two years, Judy knows the thrill and excitement of patients and their families getting to experience these outings. “When I heard Ed’s story of driving on the track at Road America, I knew it would be a great memory for all to return for a ride,” said Judy.

Thank you to Judy and Bryan Walthers, Road America and A&J Mobility for their efforts in making this a great day for Ed and his family.

Categories: News

Tagged as:

Leave a comment (moderated)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.