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Thatcher mourns the passing of elementary teacher Allred

THATCHER — After teaching the children of Thatcher Elementary for 46 years, fifth-grade teacher Ora Allred leaves behind a legacy of educational understanding and perseverance.

When notified of her passing, the entire Thatcher Elementary School had a moment of silence for their beloved teacher.

Allred taught third grade for several years, but the rest of her career was completely dedicated to the adventures of educating children in fifth grade.

“She always said the fifth-grade kids are a special bunch of kids, sharp as a whip,” said Catherine Winkler, Allred’s niece. “She saw the potential in every kid and would never let a kid be labeled as ‘bad’ in her group. She never believed in that. She always believed in their potential and saw the good in them, and pushed them to be their greatest. And a lot of people at the elementary school would say that. She went out of her way to know each and every one of her students. She treated them more as her children than her students.”

In honor of Allred, Thatcher Elementary School fifth-graders will be performing the song “For Good” from the Broadway musical “Wicked” in the end-of-the-year music program.

Allred’s homeroom class door has since been decorated with notes from students and the words: “A teacher is like a book; it can influence 10,000’s for good!”

According to Winkler, Allred taught close to 10,000 children over the time of her educational career. She was currently teaching her third generation of students at Thatcher Elementary School.

Aside from her teaching career, Allred was active in her church as well as being an active member of Delta Kappa Gamma.

According to her brother, Max Allred, Ora was generous to the individuals struggling financially in Graham County and would help donate entire Christmas meals to low-income families in the area.

“She had a high standard of caring for everybody, and for me she was a prime example of how to treat your fellow man and how to be there for people,” Max said. “Everything that she was as far as in the community was geared toward education of the children, and she had a sixth sense for students that were in need of extra understanding; and she was somebody they knew they could talk to about everything. She was always kind of aware of the students in her class that were having problems at home or were having emotional problems for one reason or another, and she would try to cater to those students.”

Town of Thatcher suspends recycling

THATCHER — The recycling program may be suspended, but Thatcher town officials remain hopeful for the program’s reanimation.

“The town has suspended our recycling program due to the City of Safford suspending theirs. Up to this point, the town has been piggybacking on Safford’s program and does not currently have the ability to operate the program on our own,” said Thatcher City Manager Heath Brown.

“In the future, when the market for recyclable materials is better, there is a good chance the program could be reinstated.”

Brown told the Courier that Thatcher residents will still be able to take their aluminum, copper, vehicle batteries and cardboard to Vista Recycling. According to Brown, Metal Mite Recycling will also accept aluminum, copper, vehicle batteries and cardboard products, as well as appliances and automobiles.

Brown also told the Courier that the Town Council has discussed creating a new recycling program but has not decided to move in that direction.

“The amount the town pays (Safford) varies for recyclable materials, depending on the amount Safford is paid for the material. Since the market has drastically declined, we have been paying $44 to $45 per ton,” Brown said.

Restrictions made by China fueled the drop in the recyclable market, thus making it difficult for many American towns to keep their recycling programs functioning. China has enacted tariffs on recycled materials imports in retaliation for American tariffs on Chinese exports.

Due to the drop of the market, the City of Safford agreed to disband its recycling program on May 6.

Angela Guajardo Photo/Eastern Arizona Courier  

Collin Thompson