New Community Effort Brings Light to Families in Darkness

DAVENPORT, Iowa - There's a new resource for Quad City families, who have lost loved ones to crime.

The idea follows a deadly accident that claimed the life of a Davenport teenager. Back in December 2012, William Schwener was killed in a car accident.

Police say his friend, Cody Lantau was drinking and doing drugs and hit Schwener while recklessly driving his car. Lantau plead guilty to homicide by a vehicle and was sentenced to five years’ probation.

Now, victim's families can get healing from right here in the community.

Ron Schwener knows the pain of losing a child.

“My situation is a little more unique than just Will. I buried my brother 28 days before and my girlfriend 2 months after and my dad 3 months after that,” remembers Schwener.

Ron says losing his son hit the hardest.

“Two things a parent should never have are a death certificate and a bill for a funeral but that will all be packed away,” says Schwener.

Those bad memories will be replaced with a plaque awarded by Davenport Police Department.

“A heavy heart becomes a little lighter to know your son who made such a difference to so many who celebrated his life,” says Schwener.

Police Chief Paul Sikorski says he saw a need for his department to change the way they work with grieving families.

“Our initial response to this as a police department can be crucial in the grieving process,” says Sikorski.

Through the tireless efforts of Ron, the department's chaplain services created "Will's Initiative."

“It was really inspired by Will and fueled by Ron and what we found is it is important to reach out and let the family know we care about them,” says Sikorski.

For Ron his work isn't done. He hopes to be the shoulder to cry on for grieving families.

“We all hit darkness and an all-time low but through the bad a little good can come up with it,” says Schwener.

Ron took home one of two "Will's Initiative" plaques made by the department. He says he plans to hang it in his home along with all of Will's pictures. The other plaque will go in the Davenport Police Department chaplain office.