Frank Shankwitz Wiki – Biography
He was an American philanthropist who was one of the founders of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and received the President’s Call for Service Award, Making a Difference in the World, Making a Difference World and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. . A documentary film telling the story of Shankwitz, his life and his foundation was shot in 2019. Shankwitz and his wife, Kitty, resided in Prescott, Arizona. Her two grown daughters, three grandchildren, and one grandson live in Ohio. Died of esophageal cancer at the age of 77 on January 24, 2021, grew up in Northern Arizona, graduated from elementary school at Shankwitz Seligman and Prescott High School in 1961. Shankwitz graduated from Phoenix College. With continuing education at Arizona Western College and Arizona State University in 1970. After high school, Shankwitz enrolled in the US Air Force, was stationed in England, and received an Honorary Discharge in 1965. After returning home, Shankwitz was employed by Motorola for seven years.
Frank Shankwitz Career
In 1972, Shankwitz began his career on the Arizona Highway Patrol at the Arizona Department of Public Safety, where Shankwitz’s interest in working with children began as a coach for the Special Olympics program, in the Yuma area, where he was appointed as a car attendant.
In 1975, Shankwitz was transferred to the Phoenix area to become part of a new 10-man Motorcycle Tactical Unit designed to operate across the state. For the next 7 years, when assigned to small towns, Shankwitz will visit local elementary schools and talk about bike safety and let the kids sit on his motorcycle.
Shankwitz was one of the primary officers of the Arizona Highway Patrol, responsible for fulfilling the “wish” of a 7-year-old boy with leukemia who wanted to become a Highway Patrol Motorcycle Officer like his television heroes Ponch and Jon. show, CHiPs. The Boy (referred to as Chris) became the first and only Honorary Arizona Highway Patrol Officer in the history of Arizona Highway Patrol, complete with a custom-made uniform, badge, and Engine Guard Wings. A few days after receiving his “wish,” Chris succumbed to his illness and was buried in full police honor in Kewanee, Illinois, while Shankwitz led the police funeral. Chris inspired Shankwitz’s idea of establishing a nonprofit foundation that would allow children to “make a wish” and make it come true.
Shankwitz retired from the Arizona Department of Public Security as a homicide detective, returned as a sworn Reserve Detective, was appointed to the Cold Case Murder Unit of the Prescott Police Department, and was a member of Posse of the Yavapai County Mounted Sheriff.