Two San Diego women, originally from Newtown, spoke with Fox 5 about the upcoming anniversary, how the town has changed and how they’re making a difference from across the country.
The sisters will never forget December 14, 2012, the day of the mass shooting.
“It’s that heart sinking in your stomach moment, that you don’t even know how to react,” said Kerin Sovern.
In the days that followed, an old high school t-shirt inspired Kerin to start a fundraiser in support of the victims’ families. She and her friends had designed the “I love Newtown” shirts prior to high school graduation.
Kerin started NewtownPride.com and began selling copies of the shirts for $25 each. Orders quickly began pouring in from around the world.
“Germany, Australia, Iceland, Abu Dhabi, everywhere,” said Kerin Sovern. “It was pretty phenomenal.”
After shipping and printing costs, the shirt sales raised $34,648. The money was donated directly to the nonprofit organization My Sandy Hook Family Fund, which assists the families who lost children and their immediate family members.
Over Thanksgiving the sisters returned home to run with family members in the annual Turkey Trot. For the most part they believe the town has returned to normal.
“The undertone was there,” said Elizabeth Sovern. “You’re seeing shirts for the different victims of different people who they’re running for. But there was also the same casualness that you get every Thanksgiving morning that we’ve done it.”
As the anniversary of the tragedy approaches, the Soverns believe Newtown is looking forward instead of back.
“The good that they’re doing from the tragedies is pretty inspiring,” said Elizabeth Sovern. “They’re not just sitting back and being victims. They’re being champions for causes.”
The tragedy has also helped change perspective.
“Always stay positive and really focus on what can be done and what can be changed and not focus on the negative,” said Kerin Sovern.
The Newtown Pride t-shirts are still available if you’d like to donate to the cause. There are now a variety of t-shirt designs to choose from.