Vestal, N.Y. native victim of Connecticut shooting
Mary Greene-Sherlach was born on Feb. 11, 1956 in Endicott, N.Y.
Fifty-six years, ten months later she was gunned down in the latest act of senseless violence that has traumatized our nation. According to reports, Sherlach, who served as the school's psychologist, considered her work with children to be "God's work." When the unthinkable happened at her sleepy little elementary school in Newton, Conn., Sherlach passed the test of the hero - running to the danger rather than away from it.
SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum is quoted as saying, "Mary's actions were heroic, and exemplified courage, compassion and dedication. We are proud to call her one of our own." Sherlach graduated from Vestal High School in 1974. Sherlach then attended Cortland where she met her husband of 31 years, William Sherlach. Next Mary Sherlach finished her formal education at Southern Connecticut State University, earning a master's degree. She began working with the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 1994.
Prepare your heart if you decide to visit the Newton Public School District website. There you will find a typical American grade school website. Except there was an announcement that all schools but Sandy Hook Elementary will reopen on Tuesday, Dec. 18. An announcement of where and when to find counseling services. A thanks for prayers. Where to make a donation. Further down you will find the surreal remnants of normal life at Sandy Hook.
There is the announcement of the successful and well received fourth grade concert. An announcement that Martin Luther King Day will be on Jan. 21, Spirit Day is the first Friday of the month. And a scrapbook of the days before national fame for all the wrong reasons descended on the school in a disgusting act of violence. And a picture of music teacher Maryrose Kristopik, leading fourth graders at the concert. Kristopik was praised for huddling students in a closet during the attack on innocence.
Clicking on Sherlach's page link on the Sandy Hook website now reveals a blank white webpage. Empty. So many of us feel that emptiness now, brought too close to home by the local connections to the Sandy Hook horror. Let us remember Sherlach and Towanda native Dawn (Lafferty) Hochsprung for the good their lives exemplified, rather than how their lives ended.
To donate to the Sandy Hook Support Fund, their website asks that checks be mailed to: SandyHook School Support Fund, c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main St., Newtown, CT 06470.