Riding for a Reason
Beloved special education aide remembered with second annual ride/walk
Writer / Jennifer Uhl
Those who knew Sherrie Buchanan say she always had a huge smile on her face and a cheerful willingness to help anyone, anytime. This drew people to the Center Grove Middle School Central special education teacher’s aide. One of her longtime friends, Sharon Keith, illustrates Buchanan’s especial effect on children with a story about Keith’s then-5-year-old grandson, Brandon: “He did not know Sherrie well,” Keith says, “but she made such an impression on him that at a chilly baseball game, he used the dollar his dad had given him for a treat at the concession stand to buy Sherrie a cup of hot chocolate.”
Buchanan passed away in November 2012 after battling cancer, but her impact on those she befriended and taught is still in action, thanks to Sherrie’s Ride, a memorial bike ride and walk organized by her family and friends. Buchanan was an avid cyclist, often riding significant distances during the last two years of her life with Keith or friend Marcia Duke, who recalls, “Sherrie would ride 10 miles from her house to my house, we’d ride 10 miles together, and then she’d ride the 10 miles back to her house.” Duke’s Bargersville farm is the starting location for the 3-mile walk and the 5-mile ride, which follows the same scenic country route she and Buchanan used to bike together.
Tammy Richert, another member of the close-knit circle of “Sherrie’s Friends,” remembers the dinner-and-a-movie nights she, Keith, Duke and others shared with Buchanan. Richert fields the ride/walk’s mail-in entry forms, and her husband’s jazz band will play at the farm the morning of the event. Richert and Buchanan met through their sons, and both lived in the Eagle Trace subdivision. “She was a very strong Christian lady,” Richert says. “Her faith was the most important thing in her life.” The flyer for this year’s ride/walk includes one of Buchanan’s favorite Bible verses from Philippians.
Last year’s inaugural ride/walk drew more than 150 participants of all ages through word-of-mouth advertisement alone and raised almost $3,800 for a memorial grant fund established last June by Mark Buchanan, Sherrie’s husband. The Center Grove Education Foundation will distribute the funds during the fall grant cycle; Buchanan was also a board member and vice president of the foundation. The reward will go to a staff member or members from Center Grove Middle School Central or Center Grove Middle School North, with priority given to those who work in the special needs departments. Two months ago at Gala for the Grove, Mark Buchanan presented the first grant to special education teacher Kristin Rodman, who had worked closely with Sherrie at Center Grove Middle School Central. Rodman has used the $1,000 grant to purchase curriculum to address different types of learning required to help special education students.
The ride begins as the Duke home, 4300 N 725 W., Bargersville. This year’s ride/walk will be held Saturday, June 14 — rain or shine — with a welcome and raffle at 8:30 a.m. The bike ride will begin at 9:15 a.m., with the walk to follow 15 minutes later. All ages are welcome, though an adult must accompany participants under 16. The entry fee is $20 per person and includes a T-shirt for those who preregister by May 31. To register online, visit weblink.donorperfect.com/2014SherrieRide. Riders and walkers may also download a registration form at centergrovefoundation.org. For more information, contact Sharon Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org or Carla Johnson at 881-9326, ext. 1660, or email@example.com.