Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times
The Dana Hills High School Class of 1999 celebrated their 20-year reunion on Friday, July 12 at Trevor’s at the Tracks to raise funds for the medical expenses of one of their own.
On Super Bowl Sunday in 2017, Dolphin graduate Steve Schenkenberger had been riding his mountain bike near Niguel Road and Ridgeway Avenue in Laguna Niguel when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver.
The suspect was arrested exactly one year after the accident, on Super Bowl Sunday in 2018.
The incident resulted in Schenkenberger sustaining severe injuries in his brain. He underwent emergency surgery that night in which a piece of his skull was removed to relieve pressure. Schenkenberger has required 24/7 care and has had to undergo multiple surgeries since then. He is now unable to walk or speak, using blinking to communicate “yes” or “no” responses.
“Steve and his wife, Lori, have five sons all under age 11. Lori is raising their children, cooking dinner, taking them to school and taking care of her husband,” said Andrea Schroeder, a close family friend and 1999 alum. “All while being incredibly positive, loving and resilient in her faith in God.”
According to steveschenkenberger.com, a website dedicated to documenting Schenkenberger’s progress, medical expenses have exceeded $500,000.
The reunion raised about $4,500 to benefit Schenkenberger. Before the 2017 accident, he had written a children’s book. The book was recently published with the help of friends, and it was available for purchase the night of the reunion, contributing $500 to the funds raised.
The book, Good Army Bad Army, is an illustrated story that reminds the reader of how to make daily choices in life. It can be purchased online at raddadtbi.org.
“Before the accident, Steve was very active. He surfed, ran, cycled. He would go to other countries for mission trip; he was always so very positive,” Schroeder said. “To see something like this happen to Steve . . . it’s hard. I want people to see this and be aware that this is what can happen (as a result of careless driving).”
Schroeder says Schenkenberger always had a smile on his face. Even now, when Schenkenberger is capable, he’ll use the peace sign or shaka sign to express affection.
“We are beyond thankful for every avenue of love and support our family has received worldwide. It has truly given us some comfort and peace in this unfathomable journey,” Lori Schenkenberger said.
To make donations to the Schenkenberger family, visit raddadtbi.org and specify that your donation is for Steve Schenkenberger. You can also visit steveschenkenberger.com.
Schenkenberger’s graduation class is also organizing an auction to benefit him and his family. For more information, find the “DHHS Class of ’99 Auction Page—A Benefit for Steve Schenkenberger” on Facebook.