Losing a child is unthinkable for any parent, but a shoreline family is trying to make something positive come out of a tragedy.
"When you go through it, it really is kind of a nightmare and we want to push through it," Mike Song told NBC Connecticut. "Be 'Song strong' as we like to say, that’s kind of our motto."
Mike Song remembers his son Ethan’s sense of humor, love of culture and fascination with his family’s history.
"He’s truly just an amazing kid and I think of all the people that I know he probably almost better than anyone I knew, he just got my personality and we were very tight so it was tough, very tough to lose him," Song said.
Police said Ethan died on Jan. 31 after suffering a gunshot wound at a Seaside Avenue home in Guilford. He was with a teenage friend, but no adults were home at the time of the shooting.
Two days after the 15-year-old Guilford High School student passed away, hundreds attended an emotional vigil on the Town Green.
"That was I think the turning point for our family," Song said. "We just did not have a way out, we were just in an abyss I’d say."
"We don’t have a lot of questions," Song said. "We know basically that kids were in a house, it was a loaded gun obviously and that gun obviously went off because there’s no other explanation."
Almost nine months later, no charges have been filed as Ethan’s death remains under investigation by Waterbury State’s Attorney Maureen Platt. She declined to comment on the active investigation.
"There’s so many things people can do to secure their weapons to keep them away from children," Song said.
In memory of Ethan, the Song family has started a foundation focused on keeping children safe.
"Ethan died tragically and we would love to help prevent that from happening to any other families," Song said.
The Ethan Miller Song Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness about gun safety and to teach children about the dangers of distracted driving and opioid abuse.
"We feel safety is a driving force issue that everybody agrees on and everybody agrees that we need more information," Song said. "We need to figure out how kids get into dangerous situations and when tragedies happen we need to have resources for them."
The foundation has already raised more than $200,000 Song said.
“The first check that we cut we wanted it to have tremendous meaning and The Cove helps children who have gone through some type family tragedy as our children have,” Song said, “so we certainly can empathize with that.”
This Sunday he will present a $2,500 check at the Run for the Cove at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison. It is the largest annual fundraiser for an organization that provides free services to children and families grieving the death of a loved one.
“The Cove is safe harbor for children who are grieving, in times of storm that’s what you need and that’s how the name the cove came to be,” race co-chair Bruce McIntyre said.
Song is planning to run in the 5K race again, except unlike years past, his youngest child won’t be there with him.
"So I’m running for Ethan and I’m also going to run for a young man named Evan Schechner who recently passed away at a young age in Guilford as well," Song said.
The Run for the Cove also features a two-mile memorial walk and a kids fun run. It is happening this Sunday from 9 a.m. until noon in Madison.
Last year’s run raised more than $80,000.