HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WFFT) — Children’s furniture, new bookshelves, and a plaque honoring Greta Schenkel now decorate every classroom at Pathfinder Service’s Kids Kampus.
Elizabeth Hire says this is the perfect way to memorialize her friend who died in August at age 47.
"I remember Greta as a kid when I came here, and then also when I worked here, she volunteered in my classroom," Hire said. "So she’s just a special person for us. And so for every single room to have an area dedicated to her is really exciting and special for us."
Greta’s parents Sally and Kent met with students today at their daughter’s former preschool, where they say she was a "professional volunteer."
"She volunteered here for 20-some years. And she loved it, and they loved having her," Sally said. "And you would go out into [the] community with her, and other children or adults would say, 'Hi Greta!'"
Pathfinders President Danielle Tips says Greta truly was an inspiration to all, especially the disabled community.
Greta had Down syndrome.
"Greta didn’t let her disability define her," Tips said. "She was still Greta first and foremost, and she didn’t let that hold her back."
After Greta’s death, Pathfinders saw a flood of donations from people who all felt inspired by Greta’s life.
"She actually was in some respect a teacher. And I think with these little reading corners now here, she’s continuing to teach," Sally said. "Even though she’s not physically here, she’s still teaching people."
Sally also gave the school copies of the children’s book she wrote about Greta’s life, titled “To Let You No: Its Okay to be Different.”
"She would love this. She’d absolutely love this," Sally said. "Yep, she’s still around," Kent said.
Greta’s parents say they’re still hearing new stories about ways Greta impacted the lives of others throughout the community.