In lieu of gifts, Claire Fiordelisi asked for donations to the Sandy Hook Family Memorial fund for her tenth birthday on August 14.
The fund, started by residents Christine and Kevin Yacko and their son Thomas, is raising money for a memorial that will serve “as a quiet place to go or where we can share thoughts,” Mr Yacko said. The memorial would be separate from a memorial planned by the town to honor the victims of the 12/14 shootings in Sandy Hook.
Mr Yacko envisions a stone memorial and small sitting area, but has not yet found a location for this project. Through sales of stickers with the image of the flagpole and the words “never forget,” and other donations, he has raised $27,000 of an estimated $50,000 needed. Claire contributed $95.
The stickers are available at Newtown Deli & Catering, Sandy Hook Deli & Catering, Newtown Hardware store, and The Newtown Bee.
Claire and her mother Carmel met with the Yackos this week. Kevin Yacko handed her an image of the memorial — a computer rendering of stone markers in a small paved area with seating.
“After the tragedy I wanted to do this,” said Claire. She invited her friends to her birthday and “they gave to the memorial.”
“Thank you so much,” Mr Yacko told her.
Ms Fiordelisi said, “Out of respect for the families we wanted to do something.” She liked the idea of a monument where people can pay their respects, she said.
The Yackos will be at the Labor Day Parade displaying the flag they flew after 12/14 in the lot on Church Hill Road near Exit 10. The lot quickly became a site where visitors and residents left gifts, creating one of several memorials in and near Sandy Hook in the weeks and months following the shootings that took the lives of 20 children and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary School. They will also continue sticker sales during Monday’s parade.
Learn more about their effort on the Sandy Hook Family Memorial Facebook page. The site states the mission: “We are raising money to build a memorial honoring the Sandy Hook school tragedy and the victims that lost their lives there.” Contact the Yackos at firstname.lastname@example.org.