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Charlevoix Co. Sheriff Don Schneider Retires After 35 Years With Department

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After 35 years at the Charlevoix Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Don Schneider is retiring.

Sheriff Schneider announced his retirement last spring.

Saturday is his last day.

Friday afternoon, Undersheriff Chuck Vondra was sworn in as the new Charlevoix County Sheriff.

Sheriff Schneider has served as the Charlevoix County Sheriff for the last eight years.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson sat down with Schneider during his final hours in office.

“I look back and I think geez, wow what a career.”

Before his decades at the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Don Schneider served in the Coast Guard.

Today, he is ready for retirement.

“Somebody asked me the other day, and believe it or not it was a wakeup call, the question was ‘how are you going to feel right after you retire?’ I said, I don’t know. Cause I’m so used to getting up and going to work every day. I’ve never called in a day sick here in 35 years,” says Sheriff Schneider.

Schneider says most days in law enforcement aren’t easy.

But it was the people he served that kept him going.

“I have been both honored and privileged to serve the citizens of Charlevoix County,” Sheriff Schneider says. “It’s a very humbling thing. There’s a lot of responsibility in serving the public, but I’ve been so fortunate to be able to do that and I think the good Lord for keeping me healthy.”

As Schneider says goodbye to the department, his undersheriff for the past eight years in stepping in.

“I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m very happy to be retiring after 35 years,” says Sheriff Schneider. “I’m extremely pleased that I’m turning the helm over to Chuck to take over.”

“We’re going to miss him,” says Undersheriff Chuck Vondra. “I know he’s here and I know he’s going to be around. He’s required to make the coffee in the morning still at 6:30, we’ve told him that, but not having him here it’ll be different. He made decisions that truly helped people, and that’s awesome. He cares about that. So we’re going to carry that forward though.”

Schneider says he plans on spending more time with his wife, children and grandchildren, and is looking forward to traveling more and driving his Corvette.