LCSD inducts two into Wall of Fame

A man stands next to a man seated on a scooter in front of a wall featuring plaques.

Two Liberty Central School District graduates whose impacts on the school and community were quite different were honored Friday, June 28, at the annual Liberty Central School District Wall of Fame ceremony in the LHS auditorium.

“Our Wall of Fame inductees embody a remarkable spectrum of personal and professional accomplishments, each contributing to the enduring legacy of the Liberty Central School District and the Liberty community at large,” said LCSD Interim Assistant Superintendent Marianne Serratore, who led the ceremony. “We are thrilled to extend a warm welcome to two outstanding individuals joining the ranks of our esteemed honorees: Mr. Kurt Scheibe and Mr. Maurice Gerry.”

More than 100 friends and family attend the ceremony in honor of Scheibe, a 1962 graduate who was integral to the growth of Little League throughout the region, and Gerry, a 1949 LHS graduate whose advocacy went far beyond Liberty but bloomed locally.

The Wall of Fame was established in 2011 by the Board of Education to honor extraordinary alumni. Nominees are judged on exceptional accomplishments and significant contributions within their career, community or personal life.

Kurt F. Scheibe

A woman hands a man a box standing while standing behind a podium as a woman watches.
Kurt Scheibe receives his award from his sister Mary Heinle as Interim Assistant Superintendent Marianne Serratore watches

There is no doubt that Little League wouldn’t be the same in the region had Scheibe not been passionately involved with the sport.

“Baseball was always on his mind,” his sister Mary Heinle said.

He always worked for a better baseball experience for his “boys,” she said. Serving as a Little League coach, he sought donations and sponsors, ensuring young athletes had uniforms and a pitching machine.

Among his achievements is the transformation of the White Sulphur ballfield from a swampland to what has become an integral part of the White Sulphur Springs Fire Department park.

Before the field was fixed, “I’m sure some of the boys were catching frogs in the outfield,” Heinle said.

Collaborating with neighboring town coaches, Scheibe orchestrated a summer of sports, fostering enjoyment and the development of athletic skills and sportsmanship in the players.

He ensured the WSS ballfield was immaculate, and assisted other communities such as Grahamsville in developing their sports fields. Transitioning from coaching to officiating, he uses his time and sports knowledge to referee youth games and fundraisers.

Beyond his youth-focused endeavors, he serves as the treasurer for the WSS FD, and is a member of the Liberty Elks Lodge, putting in countless hours volunteering over 60 years for both organizations.

Maurice Gerry

A man speaks at a podium
Maurice Gerry speaks at the Wall of Fame ceremony.

Although Gerry  traveled far from Liberty, entering the Navy after high school and settling in San Francisco, Liberty was always in his heart.

“This ‘unicorn’ is the most dedicated man I’ve ever seen in the community,” Ron Gozza said in introducing his best friend.

The hamlet of Ferndale holds a special place in Gerry’s heart. So much so, he made it his mission to revitalize the first 10 houses—five on either side of the road—at the entrance of the community, Gozza said.

Gerry’s education began in a one-room schoolhouse on Ferndale-Loomis Road. His first teacher, Mrs. Manion, had such an impact he recently dedicated a plaque in her honor to be displayed on the schoolhouse wall, once the building is restored.

Gerry gave special thanks to the educators in his life. “In memory of my teachers, my principals, my friends, I really want to thank you for this honor,” he said.

While out West he worked with Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Actively involved in Diane Feinstein’s mayoral campaign, Gerry’s efforts to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic earned him the honor of representing Alaska in a Washington, D.C., parade for the cause.

He returned to Liberty to care for his aging parents and immersed himself in local politics, the arts and preservation. The visionary behind the Ms. Sullivan County Beauty Pageant, he championed diversity and inclusion, ensuring financial barriers did not hinder participation. Serving as town councilman for two decades, affectionately known as the “Tree Hugger,” Gerry dedicated himself to maintaining Liberty’s beauty and integrity.

At the age of 91, he assumed the role of interim councilman, a testament to his enduring commitment. Gerry actively supports humanitarian efforts locally and internationally, holding seats at O & M Museum, Liberty Arts Museum, Time and Again Museum and the Shandelee Music Festival.

“I have some comfort knowing my picture will be somewhere other than my tombstone,” Gerry said, referring to the Wall of Fame in the High School lobby, which includes plaques of all of the inductees.

During the ceremony, proclamations and certificates on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, the state Senate and Assembly, the Sullivan County Legislature and the Town of Liberty were presented to each of the inductees.

“We are thankful for the dedication of Mr. Gerry and Mr. Scheibe to the Liberty community,” Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sullivan said. “They each showed, in different ways, how one person can make a difference.”