Ronald Schultz of Hillsboro was 22 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He lived in Hillsboro, graduated from Hillsboro High School, and after a year at Tabor College, he decided to follow duty’s call. He never came home, and years later, his family still misses their very own POW/MIA brother.
“He felt very strongly that he wanted to serve his country,” said Schultz’ sister, Ruth Funk of Hillsboro. “He actually wanted to go in and be a Green Beret, but football injuries changed that. He went into medic training instead.”
Funk said her brother never even completed his training before he was sent into action in Vietnam.
“My older sister was in nurses training at the same time, so they interacted a lot at first, but later it was hard to stay in contact with him,” Funk said.
While in service, Funk said a Christian Leader reporter met her brother and wrote a story about him.
“I remember how the article told about Ron making a long trek just to be able to meet the reporter,” Funk said. “The reporter told us when they met, Ron said ‘Boy, am I glad to see you.’ It wasn’t too long after that he went missing, and the reporter told us if he ever found him, he would be the first to say ‘Boy, am I glad to see you.’”
Funk said little things like that she remembered at odd times about her brother.
“Some things just trigger my memory and I wonder what he would be like,” she said. “Mostly when I look at my own children, I think of him. When they were 22, I couldn’t help think that was much too young to go into war like that.”
Funk said her brother was on his 100-day count to come home when a shortage of medics sent him back out into the field.
“He shouldn’t have been out there that day,” she said.
Funk said her parents, who died several years ago, used to be very active in POW/MIA activities but they were never bitter about Ronald’s disappearance.
“They just kind of took life as it came, and they taught all of us kids to do the same,” she said.
Funk and her twin sister were the youngest of seven children in the family; Ronald was the oldest.
“He always called us Rufus and Goofus,” she said. “Before he left he really tried to learn to tell us apart, but I don’t know if he got it or not.”
Funk, who was 12 when her brother enlisted, said he would be 70 years old if he were still alive today, but she remembered him as he was the day he left home.
“We are so different now,” she said. “I wonder if he would know us if he came back.”
POW/MIA Remembrance Day was Sept. 21. Several American Legions in the county held quiet services to remember those lost in service to their country.