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Snapshot: Ian Hockley



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Occupation: Right now, I’m the executive director/project director for Dylan’s Wings of Change, which is the foundation started in my son Dylan’s memory. I joined IBM in 1998 and worked many different roles there through the years. They’ve been very gracious and let me be on a leave of absence, but that’s coming to an end next July. My heart is with the foundation, and it always will be.

Family: Nicole and I divorced three years ago after being married for 22 years. We’re committed to remaining friends and being the best parents we can be for Jake. Jake was in third grade at the time of the [12/14] shooting and was as lost as the rest of us. I hope and I feel that he’s starting to find his way. He’s a freshman now, and before the summer, he decided to dye his hair red — now he’s blonde.

Pets: We have Angel, a spaniel mix. She’s a rescue from a foundation that trains therapy dogs. Jake named her, and they’re inseparable. The dog goes with Jake as he moves between the two houses. I live in Monroe with my girlfriend, Jenn Heitzke, and she has two cats.

How long did you live in Newtown? We moved to Sandy Hook in January 2011. I’ll always remember because there was snow on the ground, and it looked beautiful. Sandy Hook was perfect because Dylan was going to get the support at school that he couldn’t get in England, so we were overjoyed to move.

What do you like to do in your free time? We do a lot of running for the foundation, and I find it therapeutic. I actually have my first 100-mile ultra-marathon next year, so I’m going to start training for that. A friend of mine, Nick Waaler, and I have a dream of doing a full Iron Man, which is 140 miles. Also, Jenn and I started brewing our own beer this year. She had gotten me a kit for Christmas from Maltose Express in Monroe. We even converted our basement and call it the H2Ohh Brewery.

Do you have a favorite book? I’m currently rereading Philip K. Dick’s book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? that was made into the movie Blade Runner. I also picked up H.P. Lovecraft to read some old Gothic horror. I will admit, with the political climate we are in, I read 1984 again recently.

What is your favorite travel destination? Nicole, Jake, and I visited Hawaii, and that was a fantastic place. Two of the most magical places I’ve visited were South Africa with Nicole back in the ‘90s and Kenya.

What is the best part about Newtown? The amount of space. In England, it felt very closed in. Also, the friendliness of the people. Newtown has a really strong community.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My father, Tom, had his own fruit and vegetable shop and showed me genuine hard work. He worked hard to get the things he wanted for his family, so I got that work ethic from him.

If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? President Obama because of the way he was with us and the way he extended himself and every support he could give. I’ve had that close experience of meeting him two times, but spending more time with him would be great.

Who is your favorite musical artist? The American band Pixies have always been my number one. I have a couple British rock bands, too: Muse and British Sea Power.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? With our Wingman Program, we bring in speakers to motivate the kids. Eddie Slowikowski presents the philosophy, “You need to be your genuine self. Don’t put on a mask. Then work to be the best you can be; then give that back to the world.”

What is something you cannot live without? A cup of strong tea with milk and sugar. I’ve had at least one a day since the age of 10. My mum, Ivy Heather, sends me a box in the mail every two to three months with teabags from England.

What is your proudest accomplishment? That we created something in the Wingman program that the children love, and it’s built in a way to be youth-led. I’m extremely happy we’ve made it in a way that they are embracing it and running with it. It’s about the kids.

Ian Hockley is this week's Snapshot profile.

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