When students of the Prendergast School in Ansonia go out to play in their new playground, it will be in honor of Catherine Hubbard, a 6-year-old girl from Newtown who was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
To renew hope in the face of tragedy, so the 5,000-member New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association is building playgrounds to honor the 26 victims of Sandy Hook in areas that were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.
On Wednesday, the group built a playground named for Catherine Hubbard at the school in Ansonia.
“The community could come back to a place where they can just be carefree and innocent,” Jenny Hubbard, Catherine’s mother said.
Hubbard embraced the project, along with her son, Fredrick Hubbard, 8, who was equipped with a hard hat and tool belt to help put it together.
“I like to build,” said Fredrick Hubbard.
Jenny Hubbard said the playground was a perfect way to honor her daughter.
“We had moved this past summer, and … left the swing set, and she was mad that we didn’t bring the swing set with us to the new house. So for us, this is giving her back the swing set,” Jenny Hubbard said.
The Catherine Hubbard Playground will have swings and it will be decorated in pink and purple, Catherine Hubbard’s favorite colors.
“Kids are going to play … in honor of Catherine, to celebrate her life as opposed to being remembered for a very horrific day in our history,” Bill Lavin, of the NJ Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association, said on Wednesday.
Lavin said the location of the playground is meaningful because Ansonia is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
Playgrounds across the tri-state area will also be dedicated to the other 25 victims of the Newtown school shooting.
The $3 million project is spearheaded by the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association.