Sandy Hook victim’s mother keeps daughter’s legacy alive a decade after loss – NBC Connecticut
Texas parents are just beginning to grapple with the loss of a child to indiscriminate violence. For the mothers and fathers of the first graders who died in the Sandy Hook school shooting, an unfathomable loss is something they have known for a decade.
This is the case of Jennifer Hubbard, who lost her daughter in this shooting in 2012. Catherine Violet Hubbard would be a teenager now.
Hubbard remained committed to giving back to the Sandy Hook community, which is why she is now honored by the Girl Scouts of Connecticut for her work at Catherine Violet Hubbard Sanctuary in Newtown.
She spoke to NBC Connecticut before the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed. Hubbard did not comment on this shooting. Like so many people affected by gun violence, she is still dealing with the tragedy.
Even though her daughter has been gone for a decade, Hubbard is making sure Catherine’s legacy lives on.
On a quiet street in Sandy Hook, Catherine Violet Hubbard always has a place of choice.
“It was Catherine in the fall, we had gone pumpkin picking,” Hubbard said as he pulled out a photo of the little red-haired girl.
Catherine was six years old when she was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
“She was shy and sweet. She was very homebody,” Hubbard said. “But once you met Catherine, her personality exploded.”
In a photo taken on her third birthday, little Catherine is surrounded by purple streamers. Her birthday is June 8 and she would have been sixteen this year.
Instead, on this date, Hubbard is honored for her work at the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, with recognition coming from the Girl Scouts.
“The Legacy Award I’m receiving is a huge honor because Girl Scouts were a part of my life with Catherine,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard was a troop leader for Sandy Hook Elementary, and Catherine was a Daisy, the youngest level of Boy Scouts.
“She was cute as a button!” Hubbard laughed. “They were wearing these blue blouses. She just thought it was, she was the meow of the cat in that blouse!
The Troupe girls have chartered their adventures.
“One of our last field trips was to the grocery store, and I hear them laughing and giggling. I can’t walk into that grocery store now and not smile thinking they were honoring that place,” Hubbard said. .
Yet these promising lives were cut short.
“It’s 10 girls that were lost,” Hubbard said.
These ten were in addition to his own daughter.
“All the girls who were in the Daisy troupe were in the same class,” she said.
The tragedy left a community, school, troupe and families irrevocably changed.
“My life has changed dramatically in ten years,” Hubbard said. “I think grief is such an unusual thing. For me personally, overcoming the grief of losing Catherine has been transformational.
Transformational, due to her dedication to the sanctuary, and continuing Catherine’s crusade of compassion for animals.
“She was actually sending them out with a whisper, a kind of pleading, to bring them back to their friends. And she was asking them to tell their friends she was nice,” Hubbard said.
The state donated 34 acres of land to the sanctuary in 2014, and it is indeed a haven.
“If we can create a space where animals know humans are kind and will be safe, then we’re honoring Catherine’s wish,” Hubbard said.
Every year in June, dozens of butterflies take flight to the skies.
“We’re honoring Catherine’s birthday through the sanctuary with Catherine’s Butterfly Party,” Hubbard said.
A celebration of beauty, reflecting the benevolent spirit of Catherine Violet Hubbard.
“So many people in this world are dealing with tragedy and grief,” Hubbard said. “Right now there is probably a family dealing with the loss of their child. Having the opportunity to honor Catherine’s legacy is a huge opportunity for us. And incredibly humbling.
Catherine’s Butterfly Party will take place on Saturday, June 11 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Catherine Violet Hubbard Sanctuary in Newtown.
Hubbard is one of three women recognized by the Connecticut Girl Scouts at the Legacy of Leadership luncheon in Darien on June 8, Catherine’s birthday.
The Girl Scouts say they chose to honor Jennifer for “the courage, confidence and character she shows to move forward through unfathomable grief, creating a place of healing for her family and their community.” .