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Ringgold honoring teacher at cancer relay

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Edward Vercoe, a former Ringgold math teacher that died on Christmas Day 2012. He will be honored at the Mon Valley Youth Relay for Life at Charleroi Area High School on Friday, May 3, 2013.

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Friday, May 3, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
 

During the superhero-themed Youth Relay for Life today at Charleroi Area High School's stadium, Edward Vercoe will be among those honored.

Vercoe, who lived in Roscoe, was the former head of the Ringgold High School mathematics department and a teacher for 38 years. He retired in June 2012.

To Tammy Herndon, and many others, he truly was a superhero.

“A couple of weeks before graduation, on May 14, my mother passed away from breast cancer,” said Herndon, a 1988 Ringgold graduate.

“He (Vercoe) helped keep me focused and made sure I went to college. He took me under his wing, helped me buy things for school ... His wife sent me food while I was up at Slippery Rock.”

Vercoe, a breast cancer survivor, succumbed to cancer on Christmas Day, a few months after doctors found cancer cells in his liver and esophagus.

“My comment to him was that I lost one parent to breast cancer and I wasn't going to lose another one,” said Herndon, a teacher in the Greenville Area School District.

“He is the reason I am a teacher today. I've seen that I'm not the only student he's done so much for. He affected so many students throughout his years of teaching. He could have retired earlier, but he loved teaching so much.”

Dom Ferrari, a Ringgold senior, will give a speech in honor of Vercoe, whose family will attend today's event.The Ringgold School District has established a scholarship in remembrance of the longtime educator.

“I, like his family, don't want anyone to forget him or the things he did,” Herndon said. “He was very special to so many people.”

Herndon recalled how she was amazed at the large collage of letters from students that was displayed at Vercoe's funeral.

“It just showed how much he affected his students,” said Herndon, becoming emotional. “He was such a good person.”

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jsellew@tribweb.com or 724-684-2667.

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