Some three-dozen people descended into Morristown’s Glassworks Studio on Monday to make memorial picture frames for families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Third-grader Shane O’Neill offered a simple reason for choosing to commemorate Chase Kowalski, a 7-year-old gunned down last month.
“He looks like me,” Shane said.
They could have been brothers, based on the picture in the photocopied obituary. The article said Chase even liked baseball and all-terrain vehicles–passions shared by Shane.
The event was suggested by Councilwoman Rebecca Feldman, and underwritten by Glassworks owner Stacey Schlosser, who has experienced the loss of a child. When all 26 glass frames–one for each student and faculty member killed–are baked in a kiln, they will be delivered to survivors in Newtown, CT.
“I hope they feel happy and relieved that people still are thinking about the children,” said Alex Benson, 16, of Bridgewater. Her picture frame memorializes Charlotte Bacon, 6. “She seems like me when I was her age. Very girly, very happy.”
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“They were all our children,” proclaim banners posted around Morristown last month.
As President Obama prepares to pitch stricter gun controls, communities around the nation continue struggling to make sense of last month’s horrific scene, caused by a deranged 20-year-old whose victims included his mother and himself.
On Jan. 17, a group called the Morristown Committee Against Gun Violence will convene at the Morristown & Township Library. A column here advocating bans on semi-automatic weapons has stirred passionate responses.
The picture frames at Glassworks represented another attempt to bring a glimmer of light to a dark chapter of the 21st century.
“We definitely wanted to come for this,” said Emily Presuto, an elementary school teacher in Metuchen, “to touch their lives a little bit, and bring a little bit of happiness.”
She glued tiny glass footballs to her frame, a memorial to 6-year-old Giants fan Jack Pinto.
Nearby, the mother-daughter combo of Renee and Emily Perst collaborated on a beach-themed frame that blended the late Daniel Bardes‘ love of swimming and soccer.
“It felt good…you want to do something,” Renee said.
So did we. Our pin-striped glass frame honors Yankees fan Vicki Leigh Soto.
The 27-year-old Sandy Hook teacher tried to shield her first-graders from the bullets. She is a greater hero than anyone who ever suited up at Yankee Stadium.
Pictures by Scott Schlosser. Please click icon below for captions
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