Ronald Wheelock has felt the impact of Sara Anne Wood’s disappearance from many angles.
As superintendent of Sara Anne’s home district, the Sauquoit Valley Central School District, he’s helped prepare students when the Ride for Missing Children of Central New York stops at the school. Although today's children never knew Sara Anne, they hear her story.
“For us at Sauquoit Valley, I think, we feel that we’re preserving Sara Anne’s memory and recognizing the impact that she had on saving young lives across the nation,” he said.
When Sara Anne disappeared, Wheelock was teaching in Watertown, but as an area native, he followed the story. And he worried about young cousins who lived within 5 miles of the spot where Sara Anne was abducted, he said.
“You never think something can happen until it happens,” he said.
And for the past six years, Wheelock has bicycled in the ride.
“As a ride, it is an amazing feeling to ride in and feel all that energy (in the schools the ride visits),” he said. “It’s a great show of awareness and to continue to push that awareness.”
The ride, he said, is about hope. Everyone hears stories from families who recovered loved ones, Wheelock said. Not everyone has come home, but those stories bring hope, he said.
Contact reporter Amy Neff Roth at 315-792-5166 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Roth).