Keeping his memory alive

5K organized in honor of Kody Roettjer

Kortney Roettjer sits on the bench dedicated to her brother, which rests outside of North Branch Area High School.
Photos supplied
Kortney Roettjer sits on the bench dedicated to her brother, which rests outside of North Branch Area High School. Photos supplied

Kurt Roettjer was sweeping out his shop recently when he looked down and saw and “ody” written in the sawdust.
Those three letters were absent only one to make the message complete: a K so it would have read “Kody.” Perhaps it made sense that the K was missing from Kody’s name because his family and friends are missing him.
Kody died Oct. 15, 2016, about two weeks after suffering a traumatic brain injury due to an ATV accident. The past year has been a whirlwind of emotions for everyone who knew and loved Kody. They certainly grieve, but in this tragedy they have formulated a mission: to ensure Kody’s memory lives on.
His mother, Tamyra, said she, Kurt and their daughter Kortney are reminded of him through incidents like the one in the shop. She said she’s heard such instances referred to as “God winks” — it’s as if Kody’s essence is returning, albeit only for a moment. On recent walks, Tamyra has found an array of heart-shaped rocks, a sign she takes to mean that the love Kody had for her, Kurt, Kortney and others is still present around them. When she sees one of these rocks, she picks it up and brings it home. Some of them she’s painted blue — Kody’s favorite color.
The Roettjers want people to know their son, even if they never even spoke a word to Kody. They would like the community to know he was a kind-hearted 14-year-old boy who, in many ways, was wise beyond his years. That’s why they’re finding multiple ways to cement his legacy in the area. They set up a scholarship in his name, they organized a balloon release in Central Park May 9 to celebrate his birthday, they purchased a bench dedicated to him that was placed outside of North Branch Area High School, near the auditorium, and now they’ve organized a “ShineKodyShine” 5K run-walk in remembrance of him. The event takes place at 10 a.m. Sept. 23, starting at the high school. People can register the day of the event for $30 at 9 a.m. or preregister online for $25 HERE. Those who preregister are guaranteed a shirt in their respective size. The proceeds from the 5K go to help kids with traumatic brain injuries and the Kody Roettjer Scholarship Fund. Additionally, if people can’t make the 5K and would like to donate, they can do so on the website. There will also be a silent auction table at the event.
“We decided since Kody liked the schools so much that it would be really cool to walk around the schools and the neighborhood back there,” Tamyra said.
Tamyra wanted to make sure to thank everyone who has helped in in setting up the 5K, as this is her first time organizing anything like this.
Standing near a heart-shaped memorial garden on their North Branch property last week — another tribute to Kody made by his family — Tamyra reflected on how difficult the months since Kody’s death have been.
“You keep going, and a lot of times it’s hard,” Tamyra said. “I’m not going to lie. The stuff we do is hard. … One tough thing about this is nobody ever thinks it’s going to happen to them or their kid.”

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