To the editor:
On Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, the tragic event in Newtown, Conn., staggered our nation. The shootings in schools and movie theatres and shopping malls that have taken place over the past few years all have been terrible tragedies. But the Newtown shooting of so many innocent young children took these events to a new level.
Like many, at first, I was in a state of non-believing. Then, sometime on Friday afternoon, I realized that I had an opportunity to do something that might bring comfort to the brothers and sisters and schoolmates of the stricken children. My neighbor and friend, Sheila Duncan, together with her niece Kendra, started Trouble the Dog in 2006. Trouble is a small stuffed dog that brings a message of hope and resiliency to the children who come to know him. I approached Sheila on Saturday with the idea of taking Trouble to Newtown and to try to get him in the hands, first, of the siblings of the young victims by Christmas.
Sheila had been thinking the same thing and by the following Tuesday the National Grand Bank had agreed to set up an account to receive donations to help us send Trouble to Newtown. By early Thursday morning, Sheila and I had 150 Trouble Dogs loaded in my truck along with books about Trouble and a Trouble doghouse that had been rushed to production in order to meet our deadline.
On our drive to Newtown, Sheila worked her cell phone and by the time we arrived in the Newtown area we had two more volunteers ready to help us. Soon after arriving, we were able to meet Justin Michaels, a reporter for the New England Cable News, who graciously agreed to interview us about our mission and to get us on the noon news that day. By the time we left Newtown in the evening, we had arranged to keep the Trouble Dogs, books and dog houses at a friend of Sheila’s who was one of our volunteer helpers and happened to know the family of one of the young victims.