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Community Honors Sandy Hook Victim

People came from Reston, Great Falls, Fairfax, Alexandria and Bethesda Sunday, March 3, to Lake Fairfax Park to run and walk 26 laps for each of the lost lives at Sandy Hook. First row, from left: Nina Paul, Sofi Blanco, Millie Blanco, Natalie Hutchinson, Bridget Crotty, Carly Hill, Faith Ann Finch, Erika Chung, Sydney Monserrate, Caden Southworth, Grady Gentile, Grant Kim, Grayson Miller, Emerson Miller, Ry Lindley, Cooper Girolamo, Nate Lindley, Harper Scruggs, Dawn Price.
Second row: Meg McGurn, Kim Finch, Maria Blanco, Juan Blanco, Leslie Hutchinson, Jonathan Hill, Cynthia Hill, Jennifer Gidwani, Hudson Gidwani, Ava Gidwani, Mahesh Gidwani, Emmery Gentine, Matt Gentile, Beth Colligan, Celia Dallas, Pheng Pan, Alex Yu, Lauren Thiell, Andrew Bolster, Liming Pan, Patricia Chung, Damon Griggs.
Third row: Martin McGurn, Glenn Finch, Chris Girolamo, Michelle Miller, Michael Southworth.

People came from Reston, Great Falls, Fairfax, Alexandria and Bethesda Sunday, March 3, to Lake Fairfax Park to run and walk 26 laps for each of the lost lives at Sandy Hook. First row, from left: Nina Paul, Sofi Blanco, Millie Blanco, Natalie Hutchinson, Bridget Crotty, Carly Hill, Faith Ann Finch, Erika Chung, Sydney Monserrate, Caden Southworth, Grady Gentile, Grant Kim, Grayson Miller, Emerson Miller, Ry Lindley, Cooper Girolamo, Nate Lindley, Harper Scruggs, Dawn Price. Second row: Meg McGurn, Kim Finch, Maria Blanco, Juan Blanco, Leslie Hutchinson, Jonathan Hill, Cynthia Hill, Jennifer Gidwani, Hudson Gidwani, Ava Gidwani, Mahesh Gidwani, Emmery Gentine, Matt Gentile, Beth Colligan, Celia Dallas, Pheng Pan, Alex Yu, Lauren Thiell, Andrew Bolster, Liming Pan, Patricia Chung, Damon Griggs. Third row: Martin McGurn, Glenn Finch, Chris Girolamo, Michelle Miller, Michael Southworth. Photo contributed

The gray skies, frigid temperatures, and howling winds were not enough to deter 100 people from coming out to honor the Sandy Hook victims last Sunday, March 3, at Lake Fairfax Park as they ran and walked 26 laps for each of the lost lives.

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Clare Girolamo and Matt Gentile, event organizers, explain the running route to children about to run 26 laps, a total of 3.2 miles, in honor of Sandy Hook victims Sunday, March 3

Clare and Chris Girolamo wanted to do something after the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., to show support for the community and to advocate for changes to prevent future tragedies. Through their running program “Yes You Can” and their children’s school, Forestville Elementary, they sponsored a lap-a-thon at the Water Mine parking lot. Friends, neighbors and families came from Reston, Great Falls, Fairfax, Alexandria and Bethesda to participate.

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ennifer Gidwani and her son Hudson joined members of the community on Sunday, March 3, to honor victims of Sandy Hook in a 26-lap, 3.2 mile run; each lap signified one of the 26 lives taken in Newtown, Conn.

Children got sponsors for the number of laps they ran as well as flat donations. The runners and walkers raised $2,000 and all proceeds went to the Sandy Hook Promise organization, a non-profit started by some of the parents and other members of the Newtown community.

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From left, Erika Chung, Sydney Southworth and Juan Blanco run one of their 26 laps taken in honor of each life lost at Sandy Hook on Dec. 14, 2012.

Girolamo read the Sandy Hook Promise’s Mission and then the runners/walkers took off. All of the children, ranging in age from 5 to 16, ran all 26 laps (totaling 3.2 miles) and some even more. Many of their parents joined them running or walking.

“This was more than just a fundraiser. This was an opportunity for a community to get together and acknowledge another community’s heartbreak and devastation. It was a chance for us to honor those 26 beautiful lives,” Girolamo said.

For more information about The Sandy Hook Promise Organization, go to www.sandyhookpromise.org.