Sandy Hook tragedy hits close to home for WDAM reporter, family

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - As the community of Sandy Hook Ct. begins what will be a long healing process from Friday's tragic shootings, I reached out to several family members to get them to share their thoughts and feelings about what happened.

My father and step-mother, Bob and Peg Daley, moved there in 1986 and still live there today just two short miles from the school. My brother Todd Howard graduated from Newtown High School and my sister Megan Daley Woods, also attended school in Newtown.

There are several other family members including myself who spent considerable time at the house in Sandy Hook over the years. It's a place we all still call home.

For all of us a tragedy of this magnitude is just impossible to fathom.

"It just shocked me, said Megan. "I think the thing that surprised me the most is you hear about these tragedies happening in other places, then you think it actually happened in your community. It's sad."

"When I was reading the story online I did a double take," said Todd. "I couldn't believe it happened in my hometown. It immediately hit very close to home."

Fortunately none of the children in my fathers neighborhood attended Sandy Hook Elementary and so they weren't directly impacted, however they say for them and the entire community it will be a long lasting painful recovery.

"People will be talking about this for the next 100-years. It's an incredibly unimaginable horror, said Bob Daley. "How someone can kill a human being is one thing, However, how someone can kill 20-children, there is no explanation for it."

The day after the shooting Megan posted to a facebook page a message titled "Proud to be a Sandy Hooker". In it she said "I want to thank the many people who reached out in such caring fashion to ensure my family and friends who still live in Newtown were safe following yesterday's tragic events. It reminds me of what Newtown is and always will be. I took the community for granted, I looked back on it as a small town, a community lacking in what  I mistakenly thought were things needed to make it better. Instead I realize it is exactly the small town, close-knit nature of the community that makes it a wonderful place."

Well said Megan!