Remembering America’s Gun Victims’: Catherine Violet Hubbard (Sandy Hook, Connecticut)

Remembering America’s Gun Victims’: Catherine Violet Hubbard (Sandy Hook, Connecticut)

On a quiet street in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Catherine Violet Hubbard was being remembered lovingly by her mother.

“This was Catherine in the fall, we had gone pumpkin picking,” Jennifer Hubbard said, pulling out a photograph of the little red-headed girl.

“She was shy, and gentle. She was very much a homebody. But once you met Catherine, her personality just exploded.”

Six-year-old Catherine was at her Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012 when a gunman broke in and shot and killed him and 20 other children and six adults there.

In the decade since her death, Caroline has posthumously championed the care of animals via her mother.

The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary was created in 2013 in honor of Jennifer’s little girl.

Jennifer has remained dedicated to giving back to the Sandy Hook community, and has been honored by the Girl Scouts of Connecticut for her work at the animal sanctuary in Newtown, Connecticut.

“The Legacy Award that I’m receiving is a huge honor, because Girl Scouts was a part of my life with Catherine,” Jennifer said.

“The Legacy Award that I’m receiving is a huge honor, because Girl Scouts was a part of my life with Catherine,” Hubbard said.

The mother was a troop leader for Sandy Hook Elementary, and Catherine was a Daisy, the youngest level of Scouts.

“She was cute as a button!” Jennifer said with a laugh. “They wore these blue smocks. She just thought it was, she was the cat’s meow in that smock!”

The girls in the Troop chartered their adventures.

“One of our last field trips was to the grocery store, and I can hear them laughing and giggling. I can’t walk into that grocery store now and not smile thinking that they graced that place,” Jennifer said.

“The Daisies was probably the start of, for many of these girls, had they lived, a leadership experience that would carry through their entire life.”

Yet those lives, filled with promise, were cut short.

“It was 10 girls that were lost,” Jennifer said.

Those ten were in addition to her own daughter.

“All of the girls that were part of the Daisy troop, were in the same classroom,” she said.

The tragedy left a community, school, troop and families changed irrevocably.

“My life has changed dramatically in ten years,” Jennifer said. “I think grief is such an unusual thing. For me personally, working through the grief of losing Catherine has been transformational.”

Transformational, because of her dedication to the sanctuary, and carrying on Catherine’s crusade of compassion to animals.

“She would actually send them off with a whisper, kind of a plea, to bring back to their friends. And she would ask them to tell their friends that she was kind,” Jennifer said.

The state of Connecticut gifted 34-acres of land to the sanctuary in 2014, and it is indeed a safe haven.

“If we can create a space where animals know that humans are kind and that they will be safe, then we’re honoring Catherine’s wish,” Jennifer said.

Each year in June, dozens of butterflies take flight to the heavens. It’s a celebration of beauty, reflecting the kind spirit of Catherine Violet Hubbard.

“We honor Catherine’s birthday through the sanctuary with Catherine’s Butterfly Party,” Jennifer said.

“So many people in this world encounter tragedy and grief. Right now, there’s probably a family that’s facing the loss of their child. To be afforded with the opportunity to honor Catherine’s legacy, it’s a huge opportunity that we’ve been afforded. And incredibly humbling.”

* Adapted from NBC Connecticut’s tribute on Catherine Hubbard


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