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The Purbalite

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The Purbalite

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Be a Hero Day to honor Fochtmans’ son on Monday

Mr. and Mrs. Fochtman turn their personal tragedy into a good cause which benefits the entire community.
Milana Varon
Mr. and Mrs. Fochtman turn their personal tragedy into a good cause which benefits the entire community.

After a life-changing tragedy, teachers Beth and Rich Fochtman have strived to create a movement to spread kindness every year on Feb. 12.

The Fochtmans lost their son, Logan, due to complications in culinary arts teacher Beth Fochtman’s pregnancy in February 2012. She had a previously unknown tumor that ruptured, and Logan died as a result. In essence, Beth Fochtman said, she only lived because of Logan’s death.

The couple then had to cope with the fact that their joy and anticipation for their baby had ended in tragedy.

Eventually going back to school was difficult for them, but in different ways. Rich Fochtman said he thought his wife was affected more, though it also had a major impact on him.

“I felt like going back to work was harder on Mrs. Fochtman just because I kind of saw school as an escape, where she saw it as a reminder,” Rich Fochtman said. 

But the escape offered by going to school would never last, he said.

“The reality would set in at the end of the day, and it was like I would go home and remember I don’t have a son anymore,” Rich Fochtman said.

In honor of her son, Beth Fochtman decided to give back to the administrators and students who had helped her and her husband through the grief they endured.

“A big part of why I run the school blood drive is in honor of my son, and the people who were there to help us through such a difficult time,” Beth Fochtman said.

Additionally, in 2016 the Fochtman’s created a district-wide campaign called Be A Hero Day. They had one simple goal: for people to do random acts of kindness for others on Logan’s birthday, Feb. 12, to keep his memory alive. 

They created the hashtag #BeAHero212 for the community to spread kindness and creativity around the area via social media. The hashtag was used first by teachers and staff members, and it has since grown to everyone in the community. 

Be A Hero Day this year falls on Monday. Art teacher Toni Rogiero has participated in Be A Hero Day every year. In the past years, Rogiero expressed kindness in several ways, such as paying for somebody else behind her in a drive-thru line to make their day. She participates not only because she is a friend of the Fochtmans but also because she sympathizes with their situation.

“I also know the power of grief and the power of feeling supported through a time of grief,” Rogiero said. 

History teacher Christopher Reilsono participates in Be A Hero Day because he wants his students to want to learn to give back. His previous acts of kindness included letting students who might be having a bad day relax and calm down in his room. 

“I try to make my room a family environment where students know they are heard, they are supported, and that someone cares about them. With that, I make it a point to carry out this promise on a daily basis and hopefully am successful in doing so,” Reilsono said.

While this is an emotional day each year, Beth Fochtman said she never forgets how grateful she is to be surrounded by the love and support of the district.

“Seeing everyone participate in Be A Hero Day makes me feel incredibly grateful. The world will never know who my son was or who he would have become, but seeing others participate in this 12 years after the fact is just very touching,” she said

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About the Contributors
Milana Varon, Staff Writer
Sophomore Milana Varon is a first-year Staff Writer. She can be found listening to music, organizing events for French Club, drawing, or painting.
Brielle Fisher, Staff Writer
Sophomore Brielle Fisher is a first-year Staff Writer. When she is not playing volleyball, she can be found listening to music and hanging out with her friends.
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    Rebecca RevoFeb 12, 2024 at 7:43 am

    This is such a sweet idea and a wonderful way to honor Logan. I will participate in it every year.