Sandy Hook hero inducted in local Hall of Fame

By Jillian Marshall

May 31, 2013 Updated May 31, 2013 at 6:25 AM EST

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Mary Sherlach dedicated her life to educating and helping children, and she gave her life for them when Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary and killed her and 25 others.

That sacrifice is how she will always be remembered with her picture hanging in the Vestal Hall of Fame.

For the Sherlach family and families of Sandy Hook victims, Dec. 14, 2012, is one of the worst days of their lives.

"Driving up there, I knew that if anything was happening in the school, Mary would be in the middle of it, and she was," Mary's husband, Bill Sherlach said.

"You didn't really want to believe it, but it's still very difficult for me to believe it. You never ever, ever think its going to happen to someone you knew, let alone your own sister," Sherlach's sister, Sue Connors, said.

Sherlach graduated from Vestal High School in 1974.

Mary was one of the six educators killed in the mass shooting in Connecticut after confronting shooter Adam Lanza in the hallway.

Many believe in delaying the rampage, she saved many lives.

Sherlach's heroic actions are why she was inducted into the Vestal Hall of Fame Thursday night.

Her husband accepted the tremendous award on her behalf.

"I think it's a fitting tribute. It's a horrendous reason to be here. I think Mary would be very pleased and humbled to be here," Bill Sherlach said.

A former classmate and the man who introduced the Sherlachs presented Mary's award.

"She dedicated her life to kids that needed her help," Connors said.

Three others were inducted into the Hall of Fame on Thursday.

Dennis Darling, class of 1965, was a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, as well as holding positions in photography centers and societies across the South. His pictures have been exhibited all over the world and photographs in many magazines and books. Darling lives in Texas with his wife and two sons.

Dr. Alfred Dufty, Jr., class of 1968, was a respected ornithologist and an all-star athlete in baseball, basketball and soccer. Dr. Dufty was the captain of the basketball team at Princeton University and played professional basketball in France. Dr. Dufty was a professor of biology and an associate dean of the Graduate College at Boise State University. He passed away in April 2012.

R. David Holbrook, class of 1988, is a leader in environmental engineering. Dr. Holbrook has worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Surface and Microanalysis Science Division since 2005. Dr. Holbrook currently lives in Bethesda, Md., with his wife and two kids.