'One of the highest honors:' Counseling center dedicated to Mary Sherlach
No amount of dedications or proclamations can ever do enough to honor Trumbull resident Mary J. Sherlach, according to Sherlach family friend and Town Treasurer John Ponzio. But Ponzio said the renaming of the Trumbull Counseling Center as the Mary J. Sherlach Counseling Center will send an important message to all who enter.
“The name on this building will tell everyone who enters just what Mary stood for and what the town stands for, which is helping people,” Ponzio said Saturday morning as a crowd gathered for the building dedication on Old Mine Road.
Sherlach was a school counselor at Sandy Hook Elementary School and one of the first educators shot and killed in the school shooting.
Her husband, daughters, friends and Trumbull public officials gathered Saturday in her honor, just six months after the horrific shooting, to honor the renaming of the counseling center, an effort proposed by First Selectman Timothy Herbst and approved unanimously by the Town Council in February. Newtown Superintendent John Reeve also attended the ceremony.
The center, which is at 121 Old Mine Road, is a satellite office of the Center for Women & Families and is dedicated to enhancing quality of life for Trumbull residents and families. It is staffed by licensed marriage and family therapists.
“This center will be a model to the region and the state of Connecticut,” Herbst said.
Herbst told the group gathered that the strength and determination the Sherlach family has shown since the tragedy is an inspiration to everyone.
At the dedication, a mock-up of the plaque that will be put on the building included a photo of Sherlach and noted her passion for her job.
Her husband, Bill Sherlach, said that if the counselors at the center show even a portion of Mary’s dedication then all who enter will be in good hands.
“This dedication probably stands as one of the highest honors Mary can receive,” Sherlach said.
The family started Mary’s Fund, part of the Fairfield County Community Foundation, to help kids and young adults get mental health services they need. A golf tournament June 24 at Tashua Knolls will be raising money for the fund.
“We want to see what we can do to keep kids from getting to the point where things spin out of control,” Sherlach said at the dedication.
Sherlach also thanked the town for its support, recalling a visit he received from Police Chief Thomas Kiely, and the first selectman, right after the massacre, offering any help the family needed. He said he couldn’t thank them enough for that.
“The last six months, the support we’ve received from the town is phenomenal,” he said.
Ponzio said the dedication will make sure people don’t forget what happened Dec. 14.
“I hope and pray this small dedication always helps us remember,” he said.