Saturday, April 21, 2007

Daniel Scherry remembered

Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Scherry of Rocky River will be remembered by family, friends and others as a young man who enjoyed life, loved his family, was a dedicated athlete and proud to be serving his country.

Scherry, 20, was killed Monday in Al Anbar, a province of Iraq. He was serving with the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp LeJune, N.C. Scherry had been in Iraq for only about a month.

Details surrounding his death are still being confirmed, but several sources said Scherry was electrocuted while traveling with his unit. No other members of his unit were killed in the incident. He was the 143rd military member from Ohio and the first Rocky River resident killed in Iraq since the war started in 2003.

Word of Scherry's death spread fast through the tight-knit community of Rocky River. More than 300 students and alumni of Rocky River High School, from which Scherry graduated in 2005, and classmates from Our Lady of Angels School in Cleveland's West Park neighborhood, which Scherry attended through eighth grade, joined a group on the networking Web site Facebook in his memory. Friends shared memories and photos of Scherry, recounting his character, loving and caring spirit and zest for life.

Scherry was a wide receiver and defensive back for the RRHS football team and members of the team, many of whom played with Scherry or knew his cousin, sophomore player Tony Fox, gathered Tuesday to learn of his death.

Several members left messages on Facebook, commenting on Scherry's work ethic during practices and games and recounting the team's mantra, "Brotherhood of the Pirates," which has helped members get through some hard times during the past few years.

Coach Ron Lewis remembered Scherry's love for football. He received the "Heart of a Teammate" award in 2004, which exemplifies what it means to be a Pirate and part of the team. Lewis also remembered Scherry's three key plays during a win at Bay Village in 2004, followed by an overtime victory at Olmsted Falls.

"He was a great player. We've lost a great friend and family member. We are all sad today for his family," Lewis said. "It hurts now, but I'd rather be sad and have the stories and memories about him and have known him rather than have nothing at all.

"We will just be there through this to support his family," Lewis added.

A general statement was not made at the school, but specific groups, such as the football team and staff, who were most affected by Scherry's death, were notified individually. Grief counselors were on hand Tuesday at the high school for any student who needed to talk.

Communications Specialist Robin Reinbold said the district has not planned any memorial for Scherry, but officials said they would support any ideas that surface.

"This is the type of thing that they would like to come from the students as they go through the grieving process and want to honor him," she said.

City and school officials plan to work together on ways to honor Scherry's memory and also help his family through this difficult time. Scherry's death brings a war that is thousands of miles away close to home for this small community.

"When something like this happens, to me it brings into perspective things that happen outside of Rocky River. It's something that's not happened to us, and all of a sudden the kids are thrown into the roles and responsibilities of adults to deal with this," said Ward 2 Councilman Jim Moran. "The positive of this is that it has brought people together and given us an opportunity to look at how wonderful and lucky we are, but we also now have the responsibility to support his family and each other."

Mayor Pam Bobst already is looking at adding Scherry's name to a plaque in Memorial Hall that lists Rocky River residents killed while serving in the military.

"Daniel is someone that many people in our community remember from playing on the football field and as a student at the high school," she said. "We want to be respectful of his family's wishes, but also help in any way we can to honor him."

"Something like this brings out the best in the community, with people caring for one another and his family and honoring him and his service to our country," Bobst added.

From the Sun News

Related Link:
Daniel R. Scherry dies in 'non-hostile accident'