Falling Water School honors "Mr. Rick," boating accident victim - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Falling Water School honors "Mr. Rick," boating accident victim

By David Carroll


SODDY-DAISY, TN (WRCB)- Fighting back tears, Falling Water Elementary principal Angelia Askins told a packed audience that custodian Richard "Mr. Rick" Wilkey had made a positive impact on his community.

The second-year principal said, "I only got to work with him for a year, but he never missed a day and was a good influence on these children."

Wilkey died in June in a boating accident, and his absence leaves a void in the close-knit Falling Water school, where he worked for more than thirty years.

"Mr. Rick loved fishing, pitching horseshoes and firing up the grill," said former principal Bill Shadwick, "but his main priority was taking care of this building.  It's about 95 years old, but every time they tried to close it down, he would make sure it looked its best."

Shadwick continued, "Mr. Rick had a hard job.  Cleaning up after three hundred kids isn't easy, but he sure did a good job."

Shadwick encouraged Falling Water students "to follow Mr. Rick's example.  Tell your parents you appreciate them.  Tell your teachers and cafeteria workers thank you.  He would like that."

Falling Water teacher Misty O'Leary unveiled plaques bearing the words, "Mr. Rick's Place," which will adorn the school cafeteria, now named in his honor.  She said, "Every now and then he would bring us something out of his garden, or make up some food for it and put it on our desks.  It was always a great treat.  Falling Water will never forget Mr. Rick."

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