Stars For Newtown
Cindy Squires' first thought when the Newtown school massacre unfolded December 14, was "I wish there was something I could do for these families."
The Windsor resident's reaction was universal. But, for most, it's a passing thought. Not for Cindy.
The hand-crafted stars she made honor those who lost their lives that day, and have risen over $1,000 for Sandy Hook Elementary School families. One made in the favorite colors of one of the victims went to the family. Many more will follow Squires hopes.
What made her decide on making the stars?
"I raised money for the VFW Children's Christmas party just before the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary," she explains. ìI sold 106 handmade 6-inch personalized Christmas stockings in 6 days that hung at the VFW, and raised $500 dollars. People loved having a little keepsake with their name on it. Having been able to do that I knew that I could raise money for Newtown."
Squires didn't just want to raise money - she wanted to do something that showed how much everyone cared.
"I wanted to give people something that could remind them that good can come of the worst things," she related to the Windsor Journal. "And while drinking coffee in front of my Christmas tree, an ornament that my daughters and I made together in 2005 caught my attention. Back then I saw a metal star, and decided to string beads in it. They turned out to be a great gift for my friends and family. Many of them displayed their stars year-long in windows. I realized that would be a great idea."
So Squires gathered a supply of 14-gauge silver aluminum wire, and taught herself how to bend it into the right shape. Then she added 26 beads, stringing them to symbolize the 26 victims she hopes will be in our hearts and prayers. She never made anything like the stars before, and feels compelled to do so.
"To be completely honest, the idea came from something bigger than me,î she believes. ìEven now when I make the star frame I wonder to myself, how I came up with the pattern? My hands know what they are doing. But my mind is amazed."
Each star is unique, and takes about an hour for Squires to complete. Already she has completed more than she imagined when she started. Her original goal was 50 stars. But as her friends joined in to help, more than 100 are ready with 70 more given out to those who donate $20 or more for her cause.
Recently she had the most important ìorderî of all. One of the families contacted her and asked for a star. They even told Cindy the favorite color of that person so that she could make the star more personal.
"I am so honored," Cindy said. ìI hope that other families will ask for stars. I'd love to do one for each of them."
And although she gets sad every time she remembers why she is doing the stars, she feels driven to do something, and that her campaign has made a difference.
"In the end I can say that I succeeded in creating something that is bringing people together," she relates. "Each time someone sees my stars in their own home, or in another, they are reminded that they are supporting a community of people beyond themselves. And it helps them hold Newtown in their thoughts and prayers."
At Bart's Beanery Wednesday, from left: Ellie Landry, Melissa Blair, Harriet Coccomo, Kim Coccomo, Mimi Weiner and Nancy Gay with six stars they made for Sandy Hook Elementary School families.