Late deputy’s legacy is impressive

Stephanie Schreurs broke new ground throughout her life and career.

Growing up in Wayne, NE, in the 1970s, she wanted to compete in sports at a time when girls were not provided with the same opportunity as boys. Still, she starred in volleyball, basketball and track, earning letters, a place in the school’s athletic hall of fame and the chance to play softball, basketball and volleyball at Briar Cliff College in Sioux City.

After marrying and settling on a farm near Alvord, she and her husband raised five children. During that time, Schreurs carved out a career in law enforcement, first as a Lyon County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher and then as the first female deputy sheriff in the department’s history in 1997. She blazed a trail for others to follow, and did so while also caring for her family, being involved in her community and maintaining a cheerful attitude. Stephanie went through life with a smile that masked her determination and grit.

A Lyon County resident explained why her loss was felt so deeply.

Schreurs “did so much off and on duty. She never discriminated against anyone in this town. She always wanted to see the best in people,” the unidentified person said in her obituary. “She always talked to anyone. She was ready at any time of day or night to help others on or off duty. She truly will be missed.”

Deputy Schreurs, 60, was gravely injured in a one-vehicle crash in her patrol vehicle southeast of Rock Rapids on Aug. 9. She died on Aug. 13. While officers confronting armed and dangerous suspects is a known aspect of their work, the thousands of miles they drive while performing their duty is another major concern.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 775 officers died due to motor vehicle-related incidents 2005-17. That is 37 percent of on-duty deaths. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 204 Iowa law enforcement staffers have died on duty, 20 of them in traffic crashes.

The FBI reports that 34 law enforcement staffers died in vehicle crashes in 2018; in total, 106 men and women serving and protecting their communities were killed on the job.

Remember that when you see the men and women in uniform as they patrol our counties, cities and towns. They are operating motor vehicles while monitoring traffic, looking for criminal behavior or actions that draw their attention, all while communicating with dispatchers, other officers and the public. It’s a demanding task, and there are sudden and tragic events tied to it, as we learned here.

If you wish to honor deputy Schreurs, Security Savings Bank in Larchwood has established a memorial fund in her honor. You also can take a leap of faith yourself or encourage someone else to achieve something no one else has attempted.

That’s what Stephanie Schreurs did during her life, and why she is so fondly remembered and deeply missed.