Boy Works to Make Animal Sanctuary in Memory of Cousin a Reality
It's a story of hope rising from tragedy: a local family related to one of the young victims in the Sandy Hook shooting has begun a fundraising effort in memory of their niece and cousin, and a nine-year-old is leading the way.
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The butterflies at The Strong float with a carefree nonchalance, moving as they please in a world all their own.
Much like a child.
"She was nice... kind," said Jack Sullivan.
Six-year-old Catherine Violet Hubbard was one of the 26 victims in the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Her cousin, Jack, lives in Pittsford.
"She really liked horses. She really, really, really loved animals."
In fact, an animal rescue organization in Newtown has pledged to build a rescue sanctuary in Catherine's memory. Her parents, Jack's aunt and uncle, announced the plan on CNN:
"When we decided that we were going to remember Catherine, what were we going to do, a building? What do we do, and we're going to build her her animal sanctuary, and so we're going to bring all the animals to her," said Jennifer Hubbard, Catherine's mother.
And that got nine-year-old Jack thinking.
"He gave my husband and I a huge hug, and said that he wanted to help his Aunt Jenny build the animal sanctuary for Catherine," said Kelly McCormick-Sullivan, Jack's mom.
Together with friends, Jack started what he calls, "The Peace Team." Going door to door in his neighborhood, he raised close to $500. Then the checks and donations began rolling in.
"Little over two weeks, we've raised $1,025 dollars," he said.
"There's obviously a lot of bad people in this world. But you know what? There's a heck of a lot more good people. And I think a lot of that goodness comes from our kids. And to sit in a room and hear these young people brainstorm ideas how to make this animal sanctuary a reality... it's hard to put into words," said Kelly.
Her family released a statement on the planned sanctuary: "Whenever a butterfly dances between flowers... Catherine's smile will be there."
Nine -year-old Jack is also hoping to dedicate a garden for Catherine Hubbard at his elementary school in Pittsford.
To donate to Jack's cause, you can send a check to the Rochester Area Community Foundation, or donate online.