Gazette opinion: Keep spreading story until Sherry Arnold is found

2012-01-12T00:10:00Z 2012-01-12T14:08:45Z Gazette opinion: Keep spreading story until Sherry Arnold is found The Billings Gazette
January 12, 2012 12:10 am

Life in the Eastern Montana town of Sidney hasn't been normal since Saturday. On that morning, a Sidney High School math teacher failed to return from a 6:30 a.m. run through town.

Word that Sherry Lee Arnold was missing spread quickly through the town of 5,000 where she has taught for 18 years.

Sidney School Superintendent Daniel Farr described Arnold as a "phenomenal" teacher who came to school early to work with students and stayed late to help them more.

By midmorning Saturday, the high school had become a meeting place for search volunteers. Over the weekend, more than 1,000 people volunteered to scour Sidney and Richland County on foot, in vehicles and from aircraft. Community support poured out for her husband, Gary Arnold, who also works at the school, their five children, and Mrs. Arnold's parents, who ranch outside of Sidney.

On Monday, the school had homeroom teachers share the bad news with their classes and made counselors available.

On Tuesday, the FBI took charge of the investigation at the request of the Sidney Police Department.

The disappearance of Sherry Arnold has been reported all over Montana by newspapers, TV and radio. The missing woman's story has been carried by an Albuquerque radio station; by the Washington Post in the nation's capitol; as well as newspapers in Bismarck, Rapid City and elsewhere; by national television networks; NOAA weather's website; the Montana Department of Justice; and by Reuters, the international news agency.

In this era of instant messaging, Facebook and tweets, the missing teacher's story can and must be spread far and fast. It seems incredible that Sherry Arnold could have disappeared without anyone seeing anything at the time of her disappearance or in the days since.

Our hearts and prayers are with the Arnold family and Mrs. Arnold's students and friends. A terrible time such as this reminds us how important each community member is and how much we need one another.

Sherry Arnold's disappearance has made many other Montanans worry about personal safety. Runners are advised to run in groups and to be alert to their surroundings. Neighbors need to watch out for neighbors.

And anyone who saw or heard anything that might be a clue to Sherry Arnold's whereabouts needs to call the FBI tip line or the Sidney Police Department immediately.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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