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Teachers remember colleague with ALS challenge

Amboy tech director died in May

Published: Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 11:14 a.m. CST
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Yvonne Vicks, an eighth-grade English teacher at Amboy Junior High School, is the first to be doused Friday afternoon during the school's ALS ice bucket challenge. About 20 teachers from the school lined up on the football field to take the cold shower to honor Richard Hubbard, a district employee who died of ALS in May. Richard's wife, Jeanette, is doing the pouring.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Allen Duerksen, who teaches chorus and social studies at Amboy Junor High School, reacts to being doused by the icy water Friday.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Jessica Nauman, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher, is drenched at Amboy Junior High School on Friday as part of the ALS ice bucket challenge. The school came together Friday afternoon to take the challenge in memory of Richard Hubbard, who had been technology director for the school district since 1999.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Students at Amboy Junior High School watch as teacher after teacher takes the ALS ice bucket challenge and is doused in the chilly water Friday afternoon. The school is especially touched by the disease, having lost Richard Hubbard, who was in charge of technology throughout the district until his death in May.

AMBOY – Teachers at Amboy Junior High School not only had some fun with the popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Friday, they also honored a former staff member.

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Rich Hubbard, who had been technology director for Amboy School District since 1999, died in May of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 60 years old.

ALS affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, according to the ALS Association. Patients lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, and can become totally paralyzed.

ALS is terminal; there is no cure.

"It's amazing to see the amount of support that has been shown to me and him," said Rich's wife, Jeanette, as she wiped tears from her eyes. "He still worked even with the disease."

Jeanette said Rich was working in school 4 days before he passed away. He fought the disease for 2 years.

"He never gave up on work," she said.

The couple would have celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary Sunday.

To raise awareness for the disease and to pay tribute to Rich, about 20 teachers from the school lined up on the football field in front of students Friday afternoon.

The teachers smiled, laughed and cringed before they dumped ice water on each other, one by one.

"This is very cool," Aaron Fassler, a sixth-grade English teacher, said as he wiped water from his face. "In addition to the water, we are all donating money."

The teachers were called out by Shauna Dinges, a math teacher at the school.

"She was nominated by someone else, and I asked her to nominate us as a school so we can keep it going," said Yvonne Vicks, an eighth-grade English teacher. "I thought it was a quick, easy and fun way to raise money and raise awareness."

In only 2 days, teachers at the junior high school raised $300 for ALS research.

"ALS is underfunded," Vicks said, "and this is our way to give back and help get research done."

Junior high teachers have nominated teachers at Amboy High School and Amboy Elementary School to take on the Ice Bucket Challenge.

They also nominated Eastland High School in Lanark, which is where Rich went to school.

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