Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Heroes of Sandy Hook

The 26th and final playground honoring the children and teachers who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost two years ago opened recently.

This last playground, dedicated to Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung of Sandy Hook, was the fulfillment of a movement started by retired firefighter Bill Lavin, who had the idea to build playgrounds for each of the 26 victims of the shooting in Newton, Connecticut, and do them in towns that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy two months earlier.

“I think what the families love most is it celebrates who these children were and who the teachers were,” said Lavin. “It doesn’t talk about how they left us nor about the day of the shooting.”

Parents from all over the country volunteered to work for free to build the playgrounds. Everything was donated. Moms and Dads worked dawn to dusk to get it done. The playgrounds were a symbol of their children’s lives. It was important to them their child be remembered in this way. “Our angels are looking down on us and are happy with what was done; it’s beautiful,” said one parent.

Lavin said the heroes of this project are the moms and dads and wives and husbands of Sandy Hook who, while suffering the worst tragedy imaginable, had the courage, strength and generosity of spirit to give to others. When you think of heroes, think of people who, while hurting themselves, pay it forward.

I have personally found doing something worthwhile like this after your child dies gives you some peace and helps you move on with your life, knowing your child will never be forgotten. It is comforting beyond belief, and I can empathize and know what these parents feel and are going through and how proud they are knowing they did something so worthwhile for others to enjoy.

The foundation, Where Angels Play, which was started by Lavin, says they plan to build more where there were other tragedies such as Boston, Colorado, and Oklahoma and bring some joy to other families and communities who need it.

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