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While reading a book about Treasure Hunter John Chatterton — Wake and District Pipe Sergeant John Schodtler came across a compilation of truth’s Chatterton acknowledged while reflecting about life after returning from Vietnam. We share them with you — as they relate to each and every one of us in life; whether at home, work, or while we are together in a pipe band.

These are his principles for living:

  • If an undertaking was easy, someone else already would have done it. — If you follow in another’s footsteps, you miss the problems really worth solving.
  • Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus, and tenacity; compromise on any of these and you become average.
  • Every so often, life presents a great moment of decision, an intersection at which a man must decide to stop or go; a person lives with these decisions forever.
  • Examine everything; not all is as it seems or as people tell you. –It is easiest to live with a decision if it is based on an earnest sense of right and wrong.
  • The guy who gets killed is often the guy who got nervous. The guy who doesn’t care anymore, who has said, “I’m already dead-the fact that I live or die is irrelevant and the only thing that matters is the accounting I give of myself,” is the most formidable force in the world.
  • The worst possible decision is to give up.

Forming the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums was not an easy undertaking.  The time, the money, the exhausting efforts getting things going while others looked at us and said “look, it’s just another police/fire band“.  Over the past 9 years we’ve striven for excellence and have been successful because of the dedication, focus and tenacity of our members (none of whom are average).   Some of this hard work has led to police/fire bands saying “their just a competition band”.  

Wake and District is so much more than the pegs others put us in.  We continue to examine everything we do – growing at ever opportunity and all along doing the right things for all the right reasons.  The work sometimes seems neverending…rehearsing 3-4 times per week, playing gigs in Virginia, South Carolina and points in-between.  The work is worth it.

For those of you still becoming familiar with who we are and what we do — read below:


The tradition of bagpipes and drums played at fire department and police department funerals in the United States of America goes back over 150 years.  When the Irish and Scottish immigrated to the States, they brought many of their customs with them. One of these was the bagpipe, often played at Celtic weddings, funerals and Céilís.

Those who have been to funerals when bagpipes play, know how haunting and mournful the sound of the pipes can be. Before too long, families and friends of non-Irish firefighters and police officers began asking for pipe bands to play for these fallen heroes. The pipes and drums add a special air and dignity to the solemn occasion.  Today, the tradition is universal and not just for the Irish or Scottish. The pipes have come to be a distinguishing feature of a fallen hero’s funeral.

The Wake and District Public Safety Pipe Band was formed in May of 2006 and originated out of the idea we need to better recognize and thank the individuals who risk their lives on a daily basis for the safety of the community.  In addition to this goal this group strives to honor those heroes who have lost their lives in these endeavors.

These heroes are no longer with us. But we can tell you in our hearts, we will always remember and be grateful for your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son.   We will make sure that their names and their memories live on in the hearts, minds, and souls of our community for generations to come.

This is our commitment.  This is our duty — for our fallen





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