During their five years in Jetmore, the Schutte family captured the hearts of the community.
During their five years in Jetmore, the Schutte family captured the hearts of the community. Derek Schutte and his wife Diana both were involved at Hodgeman County High School; she coached volleyball, he taught social studies and was the girls basketball coach. Along with their four chidren Dominique, Dalaina, Dyron, Drihanna, the couple managed the area swimming pool during the summer.
"They won the community over," said Denise Schroeder, a close friend of the family.
The Schutte family moved from Jetmore to Halstead in August so Derek could pursue different coaching and teaching opportunities.
Schroeder said the town was devastated to see them go. Little did they know, a truly devastating event would soon take place.
On Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 Diana failed to stop at the red light, and was hit by a westbound oil tanker truck. The accident caused the semi to roll onto its side, partially crushing the minivan. The two youngest members of the Schutte family, 3-year-old Dyron and 9-month-old Drianna, were also in the accident.
Dyron suffered serious injuries in the crash and was transported to a nearby hospital, but died soon after. Drianna, was also taken to a hospital in critical condition.
In the time since the accident, both Diana and Drianna have been released from the hospital. Schroeder said the infant is making progress, as is Diana.
After the Schutte family moved to Halstead, Schroeder agreed to help show their home in Jetmore to potential buyers. And since the home hasn't sold, Schroeder says it has become a financial burden on the family.
So she made it her goal to lessen the burden for the family her town loves.
"If there is one big thing that would help the Schutte family right now, it is selling their house in Jetmore. The house is a huge financial burden and the selling process is emotionally draining. By all means, we want to make life without Dyron easier on this dear family," Schroeder said in an e-mail.
Along with a team of a dozen or so Jetmore residents, Schroeder will be renovating the Schutte house on Atkin Street in Jetmore.
"We are calling it 'Extreme Makeover: Schutte Edition'," she said, a name inspired by the ABC series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Plans include new flooring in the kitchen, new cabinets and a fresh coat of paint to the kitchen. Schroeder would also like to update the light fixtures and add some curb appeal to the exterior of the house. "Just months ago, the house was full of furniture, toys, laughter and love. But now, as the house is empty and the walls are bare, it is lacking," she said. "The original part of the house has good 'bones' but it is dated; and we want to transform it into a house people will fall in love with, just like the Schuttes did."
Schroeder said she plans to start small, but acknowledged that more funds would mean more renovations and is welcoming more support for the project. Skilled laborers would also be appreciated. The team hopes to finish the renovations in two to three weeks and spend about $1500. So far, they have raised $600.
"We're so far from them now that they're in Halstead," she said. "We want to help with their healing."
And although Schroeder said she wishes she could do more for the Schutte's, selling their Jetmore home is a necessary step as the family moves forward from their loss.
"They connected quickly with the Halstead community," she said. "They can't buy their home in Halstead until the one in Jetmore is sold." The current price for the four bedroom, one bathroom house is $87,000.
Donations for the "Extreme Makeover: Schutte Edition" project can be sent to Farmers State Bank, Schutte Makeover, PO Box 157, Jetmore, KS 67854. Check should be made payable to: Schutte Makeover. Anyone wishing to donate their time, labor or possible fixtures for the home should contact the Dodge City Daily Globe at (620) 408-9917.
Follow Abigail on Twitter, @Abigail_dcglobe.