On Friday, December 14th, 2012 tragedy struck the quiet city of Newtown, CT. At approximately 9:30am, school children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School were just starting their day. Students were studying math, others their social studies, and perhaps the younger children were learning their alphabet or visiting the school library. It was, in every way, an ordinary day. And then – the unthinkable happened. A gunman broke into the school, murdering twenty-six people, including 20 children, none older than 7, their principal and several teachers. The perpetrator then turned a gun on himself, ending the nightmare which had unfolded only moments before, and ending too a life of promise for so many.
As former teachers, and as parents and grandparents, Linda and I are struggling to come to grips with such an event, and I know all of you are as well. And like you, our thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost their loved ones, and the community that is left to wonder “why?”
We may never know why this happened, and the community of Newtown is left to pick up the pieces and try to put their lives back together and make sense of a senseless act.
There are 46,000 Lions clubs all over the world – many in communities no larger than Newtown, CT. Each and every Lions club is part of the fabric of their respective community. Neighbor helping neighbor. A shoulder to cry on when grief strikes. A helping hand in time of need.
In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, as Newtown and the world was just learning of the tragedy, as sirens were wailing with police and ambulances rushing to the scene, the Newtown Lions club wanted to help. They quickly set up coffee and refreshments for first responders so they could in turn concentrate on their jobs. Trivial in an atmosphere of unspeakable grief, yet a perfect example of an unselfish act of kindness and concern, and the very definition of our motto “We Serve.”
Thank you to the members of the Newtown Lions club. Please know that Lions around the world are with you in heart and spirit, and that we will do what we can in the immediate future to provide you what assistance you may need.
Lion Wayne Madden