The Roundup -

Arnold Among Sidney’s Top Ten

 

Sidney residents release balloons after the Virtual Walk For Sherry.

The year 2012 has had the quaint community of Sidney realizing some harsh realities of the growing oil boom. As the year comes to an end, The Roundup would like to honor Sherry Arnold, an esteemed woman of our community. Sherry is one of The Roundup’s Top Ten for 2012.

Tragedy came on the morning of Jan. 7 when a search party was gathered at Sidney High School for math teacher Sherry Arnold. Sherry, wife of Gary and the mother of five, had not returned from her regular morning jog.

In the days following Sherry’s disappearance, law enforcement officials from several agencies were diligently following every lead they acquired.

On Jan. 13th, two men were in custody in connection with Sherry’s disappearance but Sherry was still not home. Information from one of the men led authorities to presume Sherry to be dead. A memorial vigil was held that evening at the Sidney High School gym with hundreds including family, friends, staff and students attending for their beloved teacher.

One of Sherry’s goals was to be the best teacher she could be. Sherry was always willing to help any student that needed help. Sherry had also been selected as KTVQ’s Teacher of the Month in the fall of 2011.

Though Sherry loved to teach math, she also taught her students life lessons in integrity, quiet determination and positive attitude by being an example. It was apparent in the high regard her students and fellow co-workers held for her.

On Feb. 11, thousands of people laced up their shoes to run in honor of a woman many did not know, but felt connected to. In total, 41 cities and towns across Montana ran for Sherry, but the heaviest hearts were in Sidney, where almost 500 people turned out at the high school.

They walked to the stadium with balloons, embracing each other and remembering the woman they called a friend, mother, daughter, sister and teacher. They promised to always keep her memory alive.

A Facebook page that was set up for a virtual run for Sherry had thousands of visits and runners from all over the world joining the run that day. Groups from coast to coast printed out running bibs for Sherry and were getting ready to run. People as far away as Italy joined in their support.

Thousands of runners across Montana, the United States and the world stepped outside on that cold Saturday and dedicated their run to missing teacher Sherry Arnold. To name a few, runners in Billings, Great Falls, Frenchtown, Missoula and Libby were among those showing support for Sherry and her family.

On March 21, Sherry’s body was returned home. A bittersweet day that gripped the hearts of everyone, for all those involved in the search for Sherry, but most definitely for those that knew Sherry the most.

Family, friends and even strangers in the community laid Sherry to rest on March 30. The funeral services were held at the Sidney High School gym. Hundreds of people turned out to mourn and show the utmost respect for such a beloved woman.

The two suspects Micheal Spell and Lester Waters, Jr. are in jail, one in Richland County and one in Dawson County. If they are found guilty, they could face life in prison or even the death penalty.

Trials are set to begin in January of 2013. Waters and Spell both pled not guilty on May 15, 2012 to deliberate homicide and attempted kidnapping charges.

The trials most likely will be a time of difficulty for all those that loved Sherry but will hopefully be a time for full justice for Sherry. The community of Sidney will continue to show hometown support and remember Sherry for the good things she did and not the bad that happened to her.

In this season of giving, anyone wanting to make a donation in Sherry’s memory may do so to the American Cancer Society or to the Sherry Arnold Scholarship Fund for her children at the Stockman Bank in Sidney. Sherry had had a six-year battle and survived of a rare form of cancer.

 

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