Kody Roettjer would have been preparing for his senior year at North Branch Area High School. But a tragic ATV accident on Oct. 1, 2016, put Kody in the hospital fighting for his life. Kody battled for two weeks and eventually died from his injuries on Oct. 15, 2016.
“Kody was an amazing young man. His light was always shining and it continues to shine on. He was only here 14 short years but he made the most of them. Kody loved people. He loved helping people,” said Tamyra Roettjer, Kody’s mother. “He already knew he was going to be a biomedical engineer and he also wanted to find a cure for diabetes. Kody loved his community and being involved in school activities.”
In honor of Kody, his parents, Kurt and Tamyra Roettjer, and Kody’s younger sister, Kortney, are hosting the third annual Shine Kody Shine 5K Memorial Walk/Run at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at North Branch Area High School. Funds raised will be donated to the Kody Roettjer Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Tamyra said Kody volunteered at 5Ks and other events and also made time for his friends. Kody loved his family so much, and he thought the world of his sister.
“He enjoyed all our family times and getaways and adventures,” Tamyra said. “We know that Kody would have done amazing things and would have kept helping people and kids anyway he could.”
Kortney and Kody’s classmates Emmy Dronen and Olivia Bollman plan on volunteering at the 5K Memorial Walk/Run and said they also want to keep Kody’s memory alive.
“Growing up I knew Kody well because my sister was best friends with his sister, so I was close to the family,” Dronen said. “When he died I was in shock and now that I am older, I still want to remember Kody and I’m still close with the family.”
Dronen and Bollman said they were given a service project where they could do anything they wanted and they chose to make blankets for Kody’s cause and brought them to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare Thursday, Aug. 8.
“It’s like keeping part of him alive,” Bollman said. “It’s hard because he’s not here and so talking about him and remembering him is so important.”
Dronen and Bollman hope when they graduate in 2020 there will be an empty seat in honor of Kody.
“I remember in middle school we sat together at lunch. We would joke around and he was always happy and would talk to anyone,” Bollman said. “We were freshman and it’s crazy to think that he’s not here anymore, and we’re not growing up together. Everyone lost a classmate when Kody died, but I knew him and I want people to remember the kid that he was.”
Registration for the 5K Memorial Walk/Run starts at 9 a.m. Sept. 28. People can pre-register until Sept. 23 for $25 and from Sept. 24 through the Walk/Run day the fee is $30. The money raised will be donated to the Kody Roettjer Memorial Scholarship.
“I’m really hoping to get his classmates who will be seniors this year to come to the 5K,” Tamyra said. “It’s important for us that nobody forgets who he was. We want to keep his memory alive.”
If any individual or business would like to donate to Shine Kody Shine, they can contact Tamyra at firstname.lastname@example.org.