TOPEKA (KSNT)– Winter Wonderland is a holiday staple in Topeka. The holiday light display has been going on for 25 years.
For 15 of those years, there’s been one woman and her team behind it making sure the show goes on, no matter what.
You may have seen Sherry Lundry’s face or heard her voice when you pull up to the Winter Wonderland entrance. If not, just know she’s always there somehow, some way.
Lundry has worked for TARC in Topeka for 15 years. While she wears many hats, her main job is spending almost a whole year putting together Winter Wonderland.
“I came on the 11th year,” Lundry said. “So I’ve done, actually, I have been in the position to be in charge of winter wonderland longer than all the others put together in the first 10 years.”
Funny story, Lundry wasn’t supposed to be a part of TARC and Winter Wonderland this year. She was on her way out as she retired in July 2022, passing the torch to her successor. But things changed and she was back without thinking twice about it.
“I was anticipating just mentoring,” she said. “So when I got the phone call, it was ‘why don’t you think about it and talk about it with your husband, and see what you think’. And I said, ‘you know, I don’t have to.'”
Since October, Lundry has taken on the role, again, of putting together Winter Wonderland. It’s a fundraiser for the non-profit that serves people- birth to three years old, and adults- with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For Lundry, getting back to work with TARC is more than just picking up the pieces to fill in the vacant position.
“People with disabilities deserve to be respected and treated the best they can be treated,” she said. “And to be included in everything we do. So my passion for helping those folks is what brought me to TARC.”
She said no matter what, Winter Wonderland was going to go on, and if that means waiting another year to retire, so be it.
“I just have a passion for individuals who have a developmental disability, and want to help them be the best they can be,” she said.
15 years, that’s how long Sherry Lundry has made it her mission to put together the biggest fundraiser the organization has each year. Not only to bring holiday cheer to people who come through the display but for the community, it serves, which can sometimes get overlooked.
“I am who I am,” Sherry said. “I don’t feel like I’m anything special or awesome. I just think, you know, it’s…I like to work hard. I like to take care of my family. I just…I don’t know. I just have a servant’s heart and I like to take care of everything and everyone.”
Lundry said she has not scaled back on her duties whatsoever. She’s still doing the same amount of work she did before retiring.
Money collected during Winter Wonderland goes back to TARC. This year, they are hoping for a goal of 12,000 cars. The last day to see the lights is Saturday, Dec. 31.
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