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Victim of thrown rock still teaching kids after senseless act

TNS Regional News • Jul 20, 2014 at 4:07 PM

From intensive care, Sharon Budd still is teaching children.

It’s the silver lining her family is looking to after the senseless act of several Pennsylvania teens.

Budd, a Perry Middle School teacher and Lake Township mother, remains in critical condition a week after she was struck in the head by a chuck of rock while driving with her family on Interstate 80 near Milton, Pa.

Four teens are accused of dropping a 7-pound rock from a highway overpass. It crashed through the family’s vehicle as it was moving at 65 mph, striking Budd directly as she sat in the front passenger seat. She suffered massive injuries.

As a result, Budd, 52, underwent 13 hours of facial reconstruction surgery Thursday. Complications forced surgeons to remove a portion of her right frontal brain, her husband, Randy Budd, said.

She already has lost the use of her right eye. Surgeons are hoping to save the left. While the brain surgery was unexpected and considered a setback, the family remains hopeful of an eventual recovery, Randy Budd said.

“What the outcome will be, would be pure speculation on the part of the doctor and myself,” he told the Beacon Journal on Friday.

In the meantime, the Budd family, including the couple’s four adult children, said they are comforted by the support offered by people in Perry, Akron and across the nation.

Sharon Budd’s story has been retold nationally on Good Morning America, CNN and Nancy Grace’s show, among others.

In one online donation site — www.gofundme.com/bje1wc — nearly $14,000 has been given in the first three days from 290 people who have heard the story.

On social media sites, #BuddStrong has been trending all week. Cards and letters have flowed into the hospital from across the nation.

“Oh, geez, it’s been unbelievable. I’m feeling the love and prayers from here, Canton to Akron to Cleveland, all around Ohio. It’s just unbelievable,” Randy Budd said from Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., where his wife is recovering.

“The people here in [Danville] feel absolutely terrible that this happened. The support we’ve gotten from people in this area, from people we don’t know, is unbelievable. The support from all over the country, in fact, has been unreal.”

Budd, a vice president at Radius Hospitality, said the family considered keeping his wife’s condition private. However, they decided that some good should come from the devastating injuries caused by a thoughtless act.

“We said, ‘Let’s get Sharon’s story out there. It’s not all about the bad guys.’ And then I heard people at the hospital saying, ‘I’m so sorry what happened and I went home and talked to my kids.’

“You always look for something. What good can out of this ... I realized it’s building awareness with parents. Moms and dads and kids, they look at that and talk about it.”

Budd said efforts are underway in Union County, Pa. to erect fencing along the overpass to prevent anyone from dropping debris onto the highway.

Similar measures took place in Akron after a car driven by two University of Akron students was struck by a chunk of rock as they drove down Interstate 77 in 1986. Dawn McCreery and Wendy Offredo stopped their car and later were attacked and killed by the men who dropped the 35-pound block from the Stoner Street overpass.

Randy Budd said there is no timetable yet to transfer his wife back to Ohio. His son, Ohio National Guardsman Lucas Budd, 28, is still on track to be deployed to Afgahnistan next week.

“It’s going to be a long road,” Randy Budd said. “But, like I’ve said, Sharon is the strongest woman I’ve ever met. She’s a fighter.”

Cards may be sent to the Budd family in care of Geisinger Health System, 100 N. Academy Ave., Danville, Pa. 17822-4910.


By Phil Trexler - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)

©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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