NEWTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — At just 6-years-old, Catherine Hubbard was mature beyond her years, showing empathy toward all living creatures.
“She would capture [something] every kid does it, they put the worm or the butterfly or frog in a jar and she would carry it around for the day and at the end of the day she would let it go because she knew they didn’t belong to her,” said Catherine’s mother, Jenny Hubbard. “I could not fit another stuffed animal in her room. It got to the point where it was like really? Really? But now that we see it. It leaves us in awe because she got it.”
Catherine died in the gunfire at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Her spirit lives on through her parents. That’s why they founded the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.
“A lot of people lose their children and to honor ours in such a special and tremendous way it’s humbling,” said Jenny.
You won’t hear animals on these 34 acres yet. On Monday, work just started on this old barn.
“It was donated by the State of Connecticut. This whole beautiful property was,” said Rescue Rebuild’s Bryna Donnelly. The non-profit Rescue Rebuild is lending a hand. Renovating animal shelters is what they do. This barn will be home to farm animals and classes for kids. Volunteers like Tony Mancini are the back bone of the job.
“It’s just a privilege and an honor to be here and help, you know, keep a legacy going of Catherine,” said Mancini.
One day, it will be able to help all types of animals find homes, like the ones at the nearby Sandy Hook’s Baybrook Rescue. Through education, they’re hoping to spread Catherine’s passion for animals to other children.
“It’s breathing life a new and to us that is the best tribute to Catherine,” said Jenny.
While they have about a dozen volunteers here today, they are desperate for more. If you’d like to help, you can come out to Old Farm Road in Newtown this weekend.
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