When the 16-year-old teen Anthony Schultz from Phoenix, Arizona decided to go for a run during the night in September of 2014, he had no idea that this run would eventually save his life. Looming in the shadows, police officer Brandon Sheffert was keeping a close eye on the teen.
Officer Brandon couldn’t help but feel a little weird about the young man, and he somehow sensed that he was troubled. He tried to talk to Anthony at first, but it was made clear quite soon that Anthony wasn’t a big fan of the police.
Something about it bugged me because I couldn’t get through to him. He just seemed like there was something going on, and that there was something that was hurtful going on that he wouldn’t say.
With the true instinct and dedication of a police officer didn’t want to let this one rest, especially since he couldn’t get the image of Anthony out of his head. Brandon has a loving wife and two younger children, and couldn’t live with himself knowing he could’ve possibly made a difference.
The dedicated police officer started showing up at Anthony’s home, and he eventually started opening up to him. Brandon immediately noticed that Anthony wasn’t living a relaxed or happy life: he shared a tiny 1-bedroom apartment with seven other family members and often didn’t know if there was going to be food on the table.
“I kept coming over here, talking to him, spending time with him, getting to know him, getting to know the family, understand what’s going on,” the police officer said.
Over time, the 16-year-old Anthony who didn’t want anything to do with the cops at first became friends with Brandon. The two even got paired via the Reach & Rise Mentoring Program with the YMCA.
“I had a role model, I had someone I could look up to, I had someone I could aspire to be,” Anthony said.
However, Anthony’s personal life quickly took a turn for the worse. His mother called Brandon and simply told him that he needed to come take him because she couldn’t take him anymore.
“I was like, ‘whoa, whoa, whoa. That doesn’t make sense,” Brandon told.
Anthony had nowhere to go. The police officer decided that he and his family would take care of the troubled teen for a couple of days, but those couple of days went on quickly. After a while, they simply took in Anthony as if it was their own son.
“We have taken him in as one of our own,” Brandon said. “Even my kids say he’s their big brother, and they love it.”
For the first time in sixteen years, Anthony had a bright and hopeful future ahead of him. He’ll be the first member of his family in thirty years to graduate from high school on time, got his own bedroom, earned his driver’s license and even got a job.
“If he weren’t there that night, there would be no one else, in my opinion,” Anthony said. “I don’t think I would be here. I wouldn’t be the person I am — I could be in jail for all I know.”
One night and the determination of a police officer changed Anthony’s life forever. Anthony now has his sights set on a future in the United States Army.