DEWITT, Mich. — DeWitt School Board President Craig Kahler lost his month-long battle with COVID-19 on Jan. 19. It was a passing felt across the community.
"So many people, when they heard of Craig's illness and his passing, reached out on his phone, my phone, both computers, in person," said Kahler's wife, Linda. "Everything was just blowing up.'What can we do? How can we help?'"
DeWitt Superintendent Shanna Spickard had only known Kahler for about eight months. But she says that was enough to know he was an amazing man and a true servant leader.
Kahler served on the board for more than a decade.
"His time on the board might have been a decade, but he's been serving the school district for a very, very long time," Spickard said.
"He was kind and loving to people that he met. He considered everybody as his friend," said Linda Kahler. "I think that's what allowed him to experience joy and success in not only his work, but his volunteer and community service areas."
In his honor, Linda and their family created The Kahler Foundation, which includes a scholarship.
"When the idea for the foundation came to me, I thought, 'Why can't we foster his love of being a lifelong learner, and take that on a broad scale and really put that out for kids,'" said Linda Kahler. "When I think about what that could mean, I think about traveling exhibits that could be brought to a school, it might be unique educational resources and the scholarships that I envision would be more of character and community service type of scholarships."
Spickard says the board has a "big hole to fill because of his loss," and it needs to be filled within 30 days of his passing.
"We posted the opening last week," said Spickard. "We've had 17 applicants, which is a true testament of people who are wanting to continue to serve and also it was nice to get condolences from most of those people really understanding that these were big shoes to fill."
The Kahler Foundation is collecting donations. Checks can be made out to The Kahler Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 520, DeWitt, Michigan, 48820.
After the 17 interviews are complete, the new school board member should take the oath at the next school board meeting on Monday, Feb. 14.
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