By Karen Jacobs
HALSTEAD – A young Halstead boy dreamed of being a superhero and at the end of a short life, he died a hero.
Dyron Schutte breezed through the lives of many in just three short years before he was taken away tragically in an automobile accident last Thursday in the Maize area.
Dyron and his family have only lived in Halstead a short time. His father, Derek Schutte, was hired this year as the new high school social studies teacher and head girls basketball coach at Halstead High School, moving here from Jetmore. Dyron’s mother, Diana, and his three sisters, Dominique, 6, Dalaina, 5, and Drihanna,9 months, have all impacted the Halstead community since arriving last summer. The community has embraced the family.
News of the accident on Thursday rocked the community as they learned of Dyron’s death. Hit hard with emotion was the Halstead High School student body. Dyron cheered with the students at basketball games, standing alongside the high school student section. Mari Jo Stout, Diana’s sister and the boy’s aunt, said Dyron was everyone’s little buddy and knew no strangers. All that met him knew his love of super heroes. He loved Captain America, Ninja Turtles, The Incredible Hulk and others. “He’s crazy when he plays Ninja Turtles with dad at night,” said his sister, Dalaina.
Dyron was a big swimmer. All of the lifeguards from Jetmore remember his love of Ninja Turtles, Morgan Edwards, Shania Liggett, Chelsie Beougher, Macy Mihm and Lauren Shuler all had memories of Dyron and his love for Ninja Turtles.
“If me or my sister got the name of his Ninja Turtle wrong, he was always quick to correct us,” said Edwards. “He knew the name of each Turtle by heart and made sure we did, too.”
Halstead residents may remember him best in his Captain America costume he wore this year for Halloween. Kari Heimerman of Halstead said she often saw him outside playing in his costume.
Stout said Dyron was always making people laugh.
“Dyron was seriously the funniest kid I've ever met. Everything he said put a smile on my face,” Beougher said. “I remember the priceless moment when he walked up to us lifeguards and had a sticky fly trap attached to him. Have you ever had to remove a sticky fly trap from a wiggly two-year-old? It's a tough job!”
“He was a pistol,” Dominique said about her younger brother.
One thing Stout, the aunt, said Dyron didn’t like was his haircut. She said when he was 2 they were cutting his hair and he told them, “You’re breaking my heart.”
Stout said this week as she visited her sister in the hospital they wrote down memories of Dyron so they would never forget them. Memories of how he would always put his shoes on the wrong feet or put on two different shoes. One story was how Dyron asked his mom if he could have a hot bath with hot and cold water.
Diana used to take him to story hour and then they would go to Subway. Diana would tell Dyron it was their little secret. When Derek would get home he would ask his son what they did today. Dyron would always spill the beans and tell his Dad about going to Subway.
Stout said they would put all the kids in bed but because he didn’t have to go to school yet he would sneak out and sit on his mom’s lap. His Dad would always tell him to go back to bed. Stout said the other night Dyron grabbed his blanket and put it over his head while sitting on her lap. Derek whispered, was Dyron there, and Diana told him it was OK to just leave him and then let Dyron know the coast was clear and they had gotten away with it.
With both Diana and Derek employed as coaches, Dyron spent a lot of time around high school and middle girls and loved every minute of it, according to Stout. But it wasn’t just the girls he looked up to. She said Diana and Derek managed the pool in Jetmore in the summer and Dyron was an avid swimmer.
She said at the age of 2 he could jump off the diving board and swim to the side all by himself. She said whatever the high school boys were doing at the pool, such as playing ball, Dyron was right there with them.
“One of the lifeguards and I were playing catch with him in the water and he asked us if we could throw him higher so he could be Superman,” said Macy Mihm, a lifeguard and member of the volleyball and basketball team in Jetmore.
“He'd come in to the office from swimming and wait for one of us to wrap him in a towel and sit on our lap until he warmed up,” said Shelby Crabill from Jetmore.
“Dyron absolutely loved the water; he would always tell us lifeguards to watch him and see how far he could swim,” said Lauren Schuler, Jetmore.
Schuler said one time she was walking from the 4H building from a wedding to the pool and Dalaina and Dyron were walking to the pool and Dyron asked her, “Why aren't you in your swimsuit?” Schuler told him that she wasn't swimming and Dyron asked, "Why wouldn't you want to swim?"
Beougher and Shuler both remember Dyron always getting hurt, such as stubbing
his toe at the pool and asking them "Why am I always the boo-boo boy?"
“Dyron was always a happy little kid who just wanted to swim, go to the park, or watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. During volleyball season, Mrs. Schutte would sometimes let Dyron pick our word to say in the huddle. That was easy for him¾he would always have us yell Go Turtles!” said Macy Mihm.
At the high school games, Dyron had a little drum set. It was set up beside the high school pep band and Dyron would play alongside the band. “He thought he was one of them,” said Stout.
Another Jetmore lifeguard and athlete, Chelsie Beougher, said her all-time favorite memory of Dyron was when Mrs. Schutte told her Dyron was playing his drums really loud one day and when she asked him what he was doing he turned around and said, “What, ma? I Justin Bieber!”
At Friday’s game, Halstead students left a place open for their hero. Marked with a photo of Dyron and a stuffed animal. Above the student section were signs the student body had made for the Schutte family. Many students wore “Captain America” clothing in support of Dyron.
Because of his love for super heroes, some of the fundraising efforts that have been set up for the family include super heroes. In Halstead, buttons are being sold with photos of Dyron on them for $5 each. One of the buttons has Dyron in his super hero costume. In Jetmore, bracelets are being sold with Dyron’s name on theme. The green bracelets have “Go Turtles” on them for the Ninja Turtles and the red and blue ones say, “Forever with Me”.
Dyron has brought two communities together. A Facebook page has been set up to link the two communities called “In Memory of Dyron Paul Schutte”. Both the buttons and bracelets can be ordered from there. The bracelets also have a website for those wanting to order them at kelliburks.wix.com/schuttewristbands.
Wristbands will be delivered to Halstead and Jetmore but will be mailed to anyone outside of those two communities. All orders must be received by Jan. 18. If you do not have internet access and would like a bracelet, you can call Kelli Burks at 620-357-4164 or Taylor Crabill at 620-357-1017 or Shelby Crabill at 620-357-1021.
Many people want to bring meals to the family. If you would like to bring a meal, please contact Krystal Siebert at 316-835-2505 or to drop off food please contact Julie Boese at 316-830-6017 or Kari Heimerman 316-835-2505. “Thank you so much for all the kindness and support,” Heimerman said. “The community has been fabulous. We are getting donations from so many people, it is just heart-warming.”
Diana and Drihanna were both released from the hospital on Monday. Doctors were waiting for Drihanna to start eating, and after she began eating good for 24 hours, mother and daughter were released.
Stout said both were doing well. Drihanna had a lacerated tongue and a fractured rib along with scrapes and bruises. The main concern with her was her lack of eating but she is now eating on her own.
Diana is badly bruised and really sore. But Stout said the family is so thankful they survived. She said it is a miracle that she walked out of that van.
Stout said what happened that day is still under investigation and may not be known for a long time. The only thing known for sure is that Schutte’s van was hit by an oil tanker and by miracle, Diana and Drihanna survived.
Stout said they take comfort in knowing Dyron is in Heaven with Jesus. That is what the family will hold on to in order to get through this difficult time.
Stout said a new chapter of emotions begins for the family now that Diana and Drihanna are at home. She said they could really use prayers from the community.
“He was quit a guy,” Stout said about Dyron. “Sad his life was cut so short.” Stout said he loved life and said he was a very happy boy who was excited to be here. “He had a smile and a laugh that could always make me smile right along with him. He will truly be missed,” said Crabill.
The family and the communities he touched will never forget the memories of their little super hero and will always remember how excited they were that he was here as well.