It’s not just another 5K – Tara Ploeger Memorial

Do you remember your best friends growing up? The girls or boys you did everything with for a part of your life. The ones whose parents were your second parents — their home, your home. But as your interests and activities evolved, time caused you to drift apart. However, no matter the distance they continue to hold a special place in your heart.

For me, one of those best friends was Tara Ploeger.

For much of middle and high school, we were inseparable. I rode my bike to her house and helped her do pig chores. We went sledding, fishing, swimming and played volleyball together. In other words, if our parents allowed it, we were together.

Her matchmaking skills are also the reason I started dating my husband Jobi, her first cousin. One could say she had a lasting impact on my life. But I know I am not alone. Many of you can say that Tara had a deep impression on your life as well.

For those who did not have the privilege of knowing Tara, she was a vivacious teenager who loved her family, school and community. She served young and old in her jobs as a daycare worker, volunteering at the elementary school and working at Garrett Country Mart and Sabetha Community Hospital. To the shock of the entire community, Tara’s life abruptly ended our senior year of high school.

To honor her memory, a memorial scholarship was created. For 18 years, annual scholarships have been awarded to Sabetha High School seniors.

Last year when the funds were nearly depleted, a group of Tara’s friends were approached about a matching opportunity from Kent and Donna Saylor to raise funds to continue Tara’s scholarship and legacy. To promote the matching opportunity, the first annual Tara Ploeger Memorial 5K was held. It was a huge success due to the generous donation of local businesses, friends and family. Through this event and the match, more than $37,500 was raised to continue Tara’s memorial scholarship.

To fully endow Tara’s scholarship, the 2nd Annual Tara Ploeger Memorial 5K and 1 Mile Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, May 26, with a goal of raising the remaining $5,500. Participation in the Run/Walk is by free will donation, and registrations prior to May 12 provides the option to purchase $10 event t-shirts.

Donate to the scholarship fund and/or register at Forms are available at the city office as well. Please call or text Rachelle Wertenberger with any questions or for sponsor opportunities at 785-285-8562.

Once the scholarship is endowed, future run/walks will focus on celebrating Tara’s life and legacy with annual fun events and gatherings.

We invite you to support the Tara Ploeger Memorial Scholarship, either through donation or in participation of the event — because, it’s not just another 5K. It’s the legacy of our best friends.

Rachelle Wertenberger


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The Sabetha Herald has been serving Sabetha since 1876.

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