MASSILLON, Ohio - Students, staff, parents and community members gathered at Edison Middle School on Tuesday afternoon to show support for Sharon Budd, the popular teacher who was critically injured when a 7-pound rock was tossed from a Pennsylvania overpass.
The group packed the cafeteria to make cards, write letters and do "positive put ups" for Mrs. Budd.
In addition, #BUDDSTRONG T-shirts and bracelets were sold with all of the proceeds donated to accounts set up for the family. 300 of the shirts and 1,000 bracelets sold out within 14 minutes.
Kim Blend, a teacher at the school, said the huge turnout was not surprising.
"Anybody that knows Sharon knows that she's such a wonderful person... Sharon is your typical mother, friend, teacher and I think that's why it hits us all so hard," Blend said.
The Budd family was on their way to New York city when a rock, the size of a volleyball, came crashing through the windshield on Interstate 80 near Milton, Pa. Mrs. Budd, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, suffered massive injuries.
Family members said the teacher, who is a breast cancer survivor and a mother of hour, had to undergo facial reconstruction surgery and she lost the use of her right eye. She remains hospitalized at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.
Her husband, Randy Budd, said he's encouraged by positive signs shown by Sharon in the past few days.
"She's wiggled her toes, squeeze a little bit with her hands. She seems to be able to respond to yes and no," Randy Budd told NewsChannel5 during a phone interview from the hospital on Tuesday.
He also said the numerous fundraising efforts have overwhelmed him.
"I'm just so proud that the community in Ohio and in Pennsylvania and around the country actually, how they're rallying behind Sharon."
Police have charged four teenagers with the rock-throwing incident.
Randy Budd believes the kids were throwing rocks at other vehicles that night and wants the suspects to pay for their actions which have turned so many lives upside down.
"Justice needs to be served on this and to me anything other than the maximum I'd be disappointed in," he said.
The website for the Perry Local School District urges people to come together for Sharon Budd and her family.
"She has the ability to befriend anyone and always does. Her smile, contagious laughter and hilarious stories and jokes are enough to bring sunshine to anyone's day," the site reads.
According to the website youcaring.com, more than $25,000 has been raised to support the Budd family.