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NEWS | Oct. 17, 2017

Age is just a number

By Senior Airman Thomas T. Charlton Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

People of all ages and backgrounds serve their country without wearing a military uniform proving, regardless of age, they can still do what they love.

628th Security Forces Squadron patrolmen Daniel Kern, age 71, and Michael Schumacher, age 55, demonstrate anyone can continue doing something they want with the right determination. Some airmen from the 628th SFS see them as inspirations despite their ages.

“These gentlemen both have great attitudes and constantly work at their personal fitness,” said William Scheer, 628th SFS air base operations manager. “They are actually faster than some of our active-duty members because of how dedicated they are to their physical health.”

Schumacher has been in law enforcement for 17 years. He spent one year as part of border patrol, six years as part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in northern Nevada and the last 10 years have been with the Department of the Air Force. He joined the 628th SFS about two years ago and continues to meet the physical fitness standard.

“The wing commander mandating that we receive an hour to work out at the end of our shifts really helps me out,” said Schumacher. “I do a lot of running on the track we have here so I can keep up my running time. My last mile and a half I ran in 11 minutes and 40 seconds at 55 years old. If I can do it, then I think anyone can push themselves and move toward a healthier lifestyle.”

Kern also continues to keep up with his physical health. From a family of 11, Kern and four of his brothers served during the Vietnam War. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving two years of shore duty before separating. Kern went on to college and become a pastor for a few years after leaving the Navy. When that chapter of his life came to a close, he became a tree service company owner and an assistant fire chief for over 20 years. After all this, he decided to try and fulfill one of his earliest passions.

“I wanted to be a cop when I got out of the service but I wasn’t tall enough,” said Kern. “Years later I was offered a job with a law enforcement agency in Chicago, Illinois, but I turned them down because I was already a pastor at the time. I didn’t really have much to do after I retired from my work as a firefighter, so thanks to the DAF having no age requirement for their civilian workers, I met the fitness requirements and I have been doing this for seven years now.”

Kern now walks every day with his wife, runs and uses the machines in the fitness centers here at least three days a week to stay in shape. Kern said he doesn’t see an end in sight to his time with the 628th SFS and attributes his dedication and successes with the most important people in his life.

“Everyone tells me there’s no way I’m as old as I am from how I act and how I conduct myself,” said Kern. “Having my faith, my wife, my three children and my four grandchildren have also helped me tremendously. Anybody can have the same feeling as long as they set a goal, have a game plan, follow through and follow their faith.”

Maintaining physical fitness is a requirement to be successful in security forces. Kern and Schumacher’s dedication to physical fitness serves as positive examples to all members of the 628th SFS.

“They are true professionals and are the epitome of what we need and expect from our Department of the Air Force Civilians,” said Lt. Col. Robert Clouse, 628th SFS commander. “They bring passion to their jobs. They use their experience and impeccable job knowledge to grow tomorrow's Defenders. They're team players and effectively execute the security and law enforcement missions which enable the Joint Base Charleston missions.”