It’s hard to imagine finding a silver lining after suffering the loss of a loved one.  Claudette Scheffold tells us that it wasn’t something she was able to see until many years later, as she remembers the huge outpouring of love that she and her family received when they lost her father, Fred Scheffold, FDNY Battalion Chief, on September 11, 2001.  Neighbors and friends sent flowers and brought food, members of her father’s firehouse stepped in immediately to take care of everything from fixing plumbing issues to doing the grocery shopping.  These are the moments Claudette can smile about as she recalls the kindness of loved ones and of complete strangers–many of whom are now close friends–who would have done anything to help her and her family during this tragic time in her life.  

Claudette also talks about the difficulty of having to grieve in public in the aftermath of 911, and how sometimes it felt like they were running a public relations firm for their family, rather than actually having a chance to be alone to process the loss of her father.

We talk about what makes a hero.  Despite the fact that her dad made a living running into burning buildings, Claudette firmly believes that everyone can be a hero and that a hero is someone who lives their life with integrity.  “You don’t have to put your life on the line to be a hero.  We can all be heroes.  Small deeds all add up.  You are probably a hero to someone else, even if you don’t know it.”

Claudette shares stories about her memories of her father, about why he was a great parent, and how he lived life to its fullest.  As a result of his job, he understood the fragility of life and used his time in ways that made him happy, including embarking on his many artistic endeavors. 

We talk with Claudette about the importance of having an outlet.  Inspired by her father, Claudette shares how running helped her to process the loss of her dad, and still helps her to clear her head as she runs almost daily.  We talk about ways to help form that habit.  

Looking for a way to document and ensure that her memories of her father would continue to live in the world, Claudette started writing all of these stories down as a way for her own kids and others to know and remember her father.  She talks about what motivated her to publish these stories publicly–not looking for praise, but being pleasantly surprised by the reactions of others.  

We have a wonderful conversation with Claudette and are honored that this podcast will be yet another way that the memory of FDNY Battalion Chief Fred Scheffold will endure.  

Episode Links and Resources:

Claudette’s Medium Page:

Robin Hood Foundation:

Can Running Improve Your Mental Health?

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