EDGERTON — The Village of Edgerton is ready for blastoff with new signs to recognize one of its own who “reached for the stars.”
Sharolee Ann Kepler Huet graduated from Edgerton High School in 1983 and went on to a career at the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, holding various positions with the Spacelab, the International Space Station Destiny laboratory, the Space Shuttle and with the crew module of the Orion spacecraft.
The village will honor her work at 3 p.m. on Oct. 11 at town hall, and officials are working on placing commemorative signs at the entrances to the village, said Zach Dohner, village administrator.
John Engler was the driving force behind honoring Huet, who was a friend of his.
“One reason was she was a classmate — Class of 1983 out of Edgerton — and she was a friend and a neighbor,” he said. “And, we had similar plans, she wanted to go in the Air Force and I wanted the same thing.”
A motorcycle accident between his junior and senior year resulted in a broken back and a lost opportunity for service for Engler.
Engler kept in touch with Huet for at least 10 years after graduation, though, admitting he was kind of living vicariously through her.
Engler worked through a lot of bureaucracy to get the sign designed.
“It went through around 18 different changes on the design and everything, some of them were my own choices and what we ran through NASA,” Engler said. “We were not allowed to use the NASA symbol because it could be commercialized in some way.”
He did get permission to use the design of the Orion Mission, which was the last one she worked on.
It’s a simple white sign with the words “Hometown of Sharolee Kepler Huet, NASA Engineer” above the triangular Orion patch. At the bottom is the phrase: “She reached for the stars.”
“I’m happy that she will be remembered in the way she should have been,” Engler said. “Every town I go into, I see signs for sports ... It’s been ages since I’ve ever seen an academic sign. That’s more important than sports in my opinion.”
The idea, he said, is to inspire others to follow their dreams like she did.
Dohner said he loves the idea of honoring Huet in this manner, which can help make people in the community aware of her success.
“When you go into any community, small or large, you’ll see ‘2020 state champion’ or ‘wrestling champion,’ recognizing an individual,” Dohner said. “Promoting someone academically, not just on the athletic realm but on the academic side, as well, is really cool, especially really cool for Edgerton.”
A resident of Merritt Island, Florida, and formerly of Bryan, Huet passed away on Oct. 11, 2018, at the age of 53 after a battle with cancer.
In her honor, NASA named a star in the Orion Cluster after her.