Six Sandy Hook Elementary school heroes honored posthumously with Presidential Citizens Award

Bill and Mary Joy Greene Sherlach

The six Sandy Hook Elementary School teachers and staff members who died trying to protect their students are remembered for their heroism.

On Friday morning, family members accepted the 2012 Presidential Citizens Award in their honor at the White House.

The school psychologist with ties to Central New York, Mary Sherlach, was among those recognized. Her husband, Bill, and their two daughters accepted the award from President Obama.

Witnesses say Sherlach and Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung ran toward the shooter in a hallway, trying to stop him on December 14th.

"It's a high honor. All I can hope is that if I were in that same situation, that I would have the courage she had," says Bill Sherlach. He also admires the actions the principal and vice principal took. "...That Dawn had, and that [Vice Principal] Natalie [Hammond] had to run out the door, and confront what was going on that day."

Teachers Rachel D'Avino, Victoria Soto, Lauren Rousseau, and Anne Marie Murphy also acted as heroes that day.

"When they showed up for work ... they expected a day like any other; doing what's right for their kids.... They had no idea evil was about to strike," President Obama said at the emotional ceremony. "And when it did, they could have taken shelter by themselves, they could have focused on their own safety, on their own well being. But they didn't. They gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care. They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us. That's what we honor today; the courageous heart, the selfless spirit, the inspiring actions of extraordinary Americans."

Sherlach graduated from Vestal High School, near Binghamton, in the Southern Tier.

She earned a Bachelor's Degree from SUNY Cortland, where she met her husband, Bill.

The couple would frequently return to their Alma Mater for games, even as recently as November.

They owned a home on Owasco Lake in Auburn.

Sherlach was getting ready to retire.

She loved her job at Sandy Hook Elementary.