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Monday, December 17, 2012

Heroes at Sandy Hook Elementary

My God, the unspeakable horror of losing your child, especially from senseless violence.  Nothing can ease those parents' pain.  Nor the pain from the families who lost adult family members who were members of the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary.  However, self sacrifice and serving others is still alive in this country when we see multiple examples of school staff endangering themseleves and in many cases, paying the ultimate price to save children and others.  God Bless them, and God please grant the parents and families peace and grace over their losses.   

From an Associated Press article: A worker who turned on the intercom, alerting others in the building that something was very wrong. A custodian who risked his life by running through the halls warning of danger. A clerk who led 18 children on their hands and knees to safety, then gave them paper and crayons to keep them calm and quiet.

Out of the ruins of families that lost a precious child, sister or mother, out of a tight-knit town roiling with grief, glows one bright spot: the stories of staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School who may have prevented further carnage through selfless actions and smart snap judgments.

District Superintendent Janet Robinson noted "incredible acts of heroism" that "ultimately saved so many lives."

"The teachers were really, really focused on their students," she told reporters Saturday.

Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice.

After gunman Adam Lanza broke through the school door, gun blazing, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and principal Dawn Hochsprung ran toward him, Robinson said. Hochsprung died while lunging at the gunman, officials said.

The 56-year-old Sherlach, who would have been tasked with helping survivors cope with the tragedy, died doing what she loved, her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, said.

"Mary felt like she was doing God's work," he said, "working with the children."

Just this past October, Hochsprung had tweeted a picture of the school's evacuation drill with the message "Safety first."

Victoria Soto, (photo at top), a 27-year-old teacher, reportedly hid some students in a bathroom or closet and died trying to shield them from bullets, a cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News. Those who knew Soto said they weren't surprised.

"You have a teacher who cared more about her students than herself," said John Harkins, mayor of Stratford, Soto's hometown. "That speaks volumes to her character, and her commitment and dedication."

In other cases, staffers both saved students and managed to escape with their own lives.

Teacher Theodore Varga said that as gunfire echoed through the school, a custodian ran around, warning people. He appears to have survived; all the adults killed were women.

"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!'" Varga said. "So he was actually a hero."

Someone switched on the intercom, alerting people in the building to the attack by letting them hear the chaos in the school office, a teacher said. Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as shots echoed through the building.

In a classroom, teacher Kaitlin Roig barricaded her 15 students into a tiny bathroom, pulled a bookshelf across the door and locked it. She told the kids to be "absolutely quiet."

"I said, 'There are bad guys out there now. We need to wait for the good guys,'" she told ABC News.

One student claimed to know karate. "It's OK. I'll lead the way out," the student said.

Clerk Maryann Jacob was working with a group of 18 fourth-graders in the library when the shooting broke out. She herded the children into a classroom in the library, but then realized the door wouldn't lock.

They crawled across the room into a storage space, locked the door and barricaded it with a filing cabinet. There happened to be materials for coloring, she said, "so we set them up with paper and crayons."

One person who wasn't in the school at all also is being lauded for his grace: Robbie Parker, whose daughter Emilie died.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, he said he was not mad and offered sympathy for Lanza's family.

"I can't imagine," he said, "how hard this experience must be for you."

1 comment:

  1. We should “Bin Laden” Them!

    The continue media frenzy with idiots that are mass murderers, or any murderers for that matter, needs to stop.

    The individuals that commit these types of crimes should not be remembered in any way. Their bodies, if they decide to kill themselves in the process, should be “Bin Ladened.” I use that term, as what my son said for doing to these type of individuals. What is meant by it? Their bodies should be removed and disposed of quietly. Put them in an unknown, unmarked grave. They should never be remembered.

    You want memories? Then they should be of the people that lost their lives, by that some ‘what’s his name’? Anyway we are remembering our children, our children’s friends, our friends, our parents, our brothers, or our sisters – NOT some jerk that must and should be forgotten.

    Place plagues on the entrance ways or monuments to the individuals that lost their lives. “The following people, ‘Our Children, Our Friends, lost their lives on this spot due to the senseless act of a selfish person that shall remain unnamed and unknown by others. My they live in the joys of our memories forever!’”

    We should have wrist bracelets made of the individuals lost – their names and ages inscribed – so that we will never forget them.
    The monies raised should go for the counseling of those survivors and into a fund for mental health concerns.

    We should never give way to turning the individual that has done such terrible things into away remembering them instead of the victims – as our current media does. For this I say shame on the media!

    So my friends – Where do we start this movement? “Ben Laden” the perpetrators’ and remember our loved ones.