News

Vigil in honor of midstate Marine to be rescheduled

Written by Nicole Chynoweth and Jennifer Wentz/Hanover Evening Sun | Jan 26, 2016 9:57 AM
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Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller(Photo: Courtesy of Genie Leigh Photography)

(Undated) -- A vigil in honor of a midstate Marine who was among 12 missing servicemen declared deceased will be rescheduled for this week.

Bob Hylton, pastor at the Country and Town Baptist Church, said Monday that the ceremony in honor of Sgt. Adam Schoeller was cancelled Sunday due to the weekend's snowstorm, but it will be rescheduled for another date. The Boiling Springs VFW Post 8851, Marine Corps League 524, the Boiling Springs Bubblers football team and the church are coordinating the service, he said.

After a five-day search, the Marine Corps said last week the 12 Marines who were in two helicopters that crashed off Hawaii are now considered deceased. Schoeller, of Gardners, and Pennsylvania native Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, of Malvern, were aboard the helicopters.

A new date for Schoeller's vigil will be announced on the Boiling Springs VFW Post 8851 and Country and Town Baptist Church's Facebook pages, Hylton said. The church will also plan a memorial service after the Schoeller family returns from Hawaii within the next few weeks.

Schoeller, who was native to an area of Cumberland County just over the Adams County line, graduated from Boiling Springs High School in 2008, according to a news release from Michelle Grochalski, vice president of Benefit Connections and close family friend. Schoeller worked as a crew chief, residing at Kaneohe Air Base in Hawaii with his wife, Samantha Wickel-Schoeller.

The Marine's family attended Country and Town Baptist Church in Mechanicsburg, and Hylton said the congregation remembers Schoeller as an athlete, both physically strong and strong in his faith.

"He wanted to be a Marine probably from at least junior or senior year of high school," Hylton said.

Schoeller also demonstrated strong character and a cordial nature, with a smile that never seemed to leave his face, Hylton said.

"He had a God given talent... he could make anyone smile even in their darkest hour," said Kelly Bowen, who knew Schoeller through her husband, Lonnie. "He was so fun and positive and always happy."

The search for Schoeller and his fellow Marines began late Jan. 14 when a civilian on a beach reported seeing the aircraft flying and then a fireball, according to news reports.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for survivors in the afternoon of Jan. 19, according to the Associated Press. Crews recovered all four life rafts that the helicopters had carried but found no sign of the missing men.

"It was not the news that we were hoping for," Hylton said. "We were hoping for survivors to have gotten out of the aircraft and been able to get into the life rafts."

In honor of the Marines, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered state facilities to fly their flags at half-staff last week.

"Frances (Wolf) and I join with all Pennsylvanians in sending our thoughts and prayers to Capt. Kennedy and Sgt. Schoeller's families, friends and fellow Marines," Wolf said in a news release Thursday. "Brian and Adam have served our country with distinction and honor, and their brave service will not be forgotten."

Others in the community have also shared messages of support for Schoeller's family, and a GoFundMe site established in his honor has raised nearly $16,280 since Jan. 18.

*This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the Hanover Evening Sun.

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