Whether it was welcoming a stepdad or moving to the Carolinas to be a television news reporter, Long Island native Jordan Schuman committed her heart and soul, her family said.
She was hired in March by the ABC affiliate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but it didn’t take her long to immerse herself in the community and give back as a “local celebrity,” said her mother, Peri Schacknow, of South Huntington.
The former South Huntington resident was 22 when she died Wednesday in a car crash on her way to visit a friend in North Carolina. She lived in Florence, South Carolina.
“Jordan made her home wherever she was,” Schacknow said. “Whether she was hosting Mr. Florence High School pageant or doing a Skating With the Stars benefit to raise money for charity or be a guest reader at the local library, she became a part of the community to give and to reach out. That came from her soul.”
She had been with ABC’s WPDE less than a year, but her colleagues praised her as “one of the most positive people” they had ever known.
“Jordan had a spirit and light about her that is difficult to put into words,” her colleagues said in a tribute posted on the station’s website.
“She loved being a journalist. It wasn’t about being on TV for Jordan, it was about telling people’s stories. She considered it a privilege.”
Her last blog post in September looked back on her first day at WPDE.
“I chose journalism for the satisfaction from the public service of storytelling, but also, selfishly, the curiosity engine it fuels,” the reporter wrote.
“You’re here to learn something every single day, go to sleep in some way a better reporter than you were when you woke up, and soak in every experience you’re met with.”
Her mother said veterans’ issues especially resonated with her daughter, shortly after she was assigned a Memorial Day story on flags being placed at veterans’ graves. Schuman took that on as a specialty, telling the story of a Marine trying to find the rest of his Vietnam War platoon to hold a 50th anniversary reunion and shedding light on the health care plight of veterans.
“She honored people who served,” the mother said, “and people who served our country and put their lives on the line for our country are among those who served the hardest, the most, the best. She felt it was important to be recognized for their service, which was ironic because she never wanted to be recognized or singled out for what she was doing.”
Besides her mother, Schuman is survived by her father, Brian Schuman of Melville, stepfather, Peter Schacknow of South Huntington, stepmother, Patrice Golde of Melville, brother, Justin Schuman of Manhattan, and two grandmothers.
The family will hold a memorial service and funeral at noon Sunday at I.J. Morris funeral home in Dix Hills, followed by burial at Mount Golda Cemetery in Huntington Station.