Yesterday afternoon and into early evening about 80 former and current staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary School gathered at The Inn in Newtown.
I was there from 4 P.M. until around 8 P.M. I got to see many of the folks I had worked with for so many years. I was one of the oldest people there and as such I was unique in that I worked with probably every one of the folks who were there at one time or another-including the several years after my retirement that I subbed--something which I will probably end up doing again since I was told there's still a desperate need for substitutes.
Putting this event together was an extraordinary undertaking. It started with a message on Facebook from someone who offered to host a small gathering. From there it snowballed to a huge number of people who wanted to participate-including many who are not on Facebook but heard from those who are.
Since it was clear there was a need for more space, a couple of teachers from Reed Intermediate who had taught for many years at Sandy Hook approached the owners of the Inn at Newtown about renting their back room. The owners offered it for nothing. All we had to do was pay for appetizers and drinks. They even arranged for additional servers who volunteered their time. They of course were very generously tipped.
From there another person who lives in Pennsylvania ran a fund raising event in her community and made enough money to cover the food and drinks of all current teachers at Sandy Hook who are still dealing with varying levels of trauma yet continue to put on a happy face every day to teach.
A relative of another person there approached his company and got enough money to buy everyone a scarf and T Shirt.
People traveled from as far away as Maine, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin to be there.
The effort and volunteerism that was put into making the evening a success is amazing.
It's just a shame that all of this goodness had to come from such a terrible tragedy but folks are already talking about making it an annual event.
If that actually comes to be, count me in.