Coming Together After Tragedy

December 27, 2012

Around the entire nation and world, people have offered their condolences following the unfathomable tragedy that took place in the Newtown community. As a parent, I am shocked and saddened by what happened, and there are no words to explain how difficult this news is to hear or process, especially during the holiday season.

We should remember the countless stories of heroism and bravery in the face of such an unthinkable crime. Teachers, administrators, first responders, police and the students took extraordinary measures during an event that no one could have imagined.

Like many others across our state, we came together to remember those who were lost. Avon, Canton, Simsbury, Torrington and other communities held candlelight vigils at churches, high schools, and town halls to pay our respects. This week, I would like to share some ways that we can all lend a helping hand during these incredibly trying times.

Admirably, the town of Monroe has stepped forward to help Sandy Hook elementary students return to school in a safe and welcoming environment. In order to get the former Chalk Hill School up and running, many tradesmen have graciously volunteered their services to make sure that the building will be renovated quickly in preparation for their return to school on January 2nd.

There are ways for you to give back to the community. If you would like to volunteer your skills or expertise that could be valuable during this time, the United Way of Connecticut is collecting information and passing it on to the appropriate state agency who will contact you if your services are needed. To submit this information, please call the state’s free infoline at 211 or visit their website at and click the Sandy Hook/Newtown Resources link.

In addition, many have asked how they could give to the families affected. The United Way of Western Connecticut in partnership with the Newtown Savings Bank have set up the Sandy Hook School Support Fund to provide support services, immediate needs and funeral expenses for the immediate families of victims. If you would like to donate, checks can be mailed to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund, c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main Street, Newtown, CT 06470. Donations can also be made online at

Sometimes, it may also be difficult to talk with our children about these events. If you are looking for some tips, there are many resources available to help understand how best to approach these subjects. The Connecticut Commission on Children has compiled a list of resources that can be viewed at

This holiday season will certainly feel a little different. But as Rev. Peter Cameron of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown recently told parishioners after hearing that there had been talk of calling off Christmas celebrations this year: “No, no, no, we need Christmas more than ever.” During this time, we will come together with friends and family and let them know how much we love them.