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Friday, July 24, 2015

IN SEARCH OF A TRUE SANDY HOOK HERO

FROM "EVERYDAY JOE" TO HERO...

In a world where it would appear that criminals are getting bolder and more brazen with their heinous acts against humanity, and in a world where only a small section of society questions the mainstream news its fed,  we can't help but take notice that a serious omission exists when it comes to the "good guys."  We believe that acts of bravery and heroism should always be acknowledged, and we will be the first, and likely the only news service that will be bringing forth this story for your support and feedback.  Ultimately, we would like to see that a certain individual be officially recognized by our President for his unselfish acts of bravery, above and beyond their obligations as an employee.

We all know the main narrative of the events on December 14th, 2012.  A "lone gunman" (whose name we will not mention) shoots his own mother dead in her bedroom in Sandy Hook, CT., and then heads to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he blasts his way into a building that should have been a safe-haven for those in the K-4 school.  As we have been told, the gunman needed to blast his way through a doorway, meeting immediate confrontation by the school's Principal, Dawn Hochsprung, and other staff members.  Killing all those he encountered along the way, the gunman ultimately took the lives of 20 young children and 6 staff at the school before ending his own life according to State Police.

It wasn't until some time well after the event at Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) that most of the world learned of the grizzly details starting from the very first 9-1-1 calls, crime scene analysis and evidence collection all the way through DNA sample results.  Even later on, the general public was graciously provided the dash-camera footage from Newtown Police responding to SHES in what appears to be a frantic response to save innocent lives.

In the years following the Sandy Hook shooting, scores of Police Officers and Troopers in Connecticut were officially recognized by Governor Dan Malloy last summer.  Awards were presented to first responders, major crime detectives, emergency services troopers, troopers and civilians who served as peer support, dispatchers, municipal & federal law enforcement, troopers and officers who served as liaison officer to victims’ families and numerous civilian support personnel from within the six divisions of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

While Law Enforcement obviously plays a key role in saving lives when tragedy strikes, there are always those in the community-at-large that act upon their instincts, often placing their own lives in direct harm to save others.  There are those who wouldn't think twice about placing themselves directly in the line-of-fire out of a sense of duty and honor, to protect those they may not even know personally, yet, do so, because that is simply who they are.



On the 9-1-1 calls of the Sandy Hook event, we are introduced to the school's Custodian, Rick Thorne.  Mr. Thorne, who reportedly called 9-1-1 shortly after the shooting began, not only managed to call for assistance, but stepped directly into harms way.  Several staff and family members of victims seem to broadcast nothing but accolades for Mr. Thorne.

According to one Teacher's Assistant, Shari Burton, Mr. Thorne ran up and down the school corridors making sure that Teachers and students were securely locked behind fireproof doors (school doors only lock from the outside).  This was widely reported in many mainstream media reports including the NY Daily News, NewsTimes (Hearst Media) and the Hartford Courant.  The Hartford Courant reports:

"When the shooting started, school janitor Rick Thorne ran through the school warning teachers to close their doors and then used a master key to lock many of the doors for them. The state police SWAT team that was clearing the school after the shooting had to get the key from Thorne to open some of the rooms. The key was so worn from use that morning that it snapped in one of the doors."



What is clear from the witnesses in the school, the 9-1-1 recordings we now have available as well as tweets and other social media posts from family members such as Hochsprung's daughters / Victoria Soto's sister, etc.,  all seem to indicate that Rick Thorne was a Superhero on that cold December morning.  Keeping true to Superhero form, Rick Thorne has somehow managed to avoid any type of public praise or interviews.  We heard his voice, yet, to those not privy to the private lives of those living in the Sandy Hook community, we know very little of Rick.

RICK THORNE GOES TO WASHINGTON



What we do know, is that Mr. Thorne attended a posh ceremony at the White House on February 15th, 2013, when 6 slain Sandy Hook Elementary School employees were bestowed the "Presidential Citizens Medal" by President Obama in the East Room.  The medal, is the second highest ranking award a private citizen can receive;  the "Presidential Medal of Freedom" being the highest award possible.  Rick Thorne was invited to attend the ceremony along with co-worker Kris Feda, a teacher who was meeting with a student's parents in the front hall of Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14/12.   The two were invited to the White House (although by whom is still not clear) and witnessed the citations being delivered to the families of Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto.

Also in attendance for the ceremony with Rick Thorne was Tom Kurowski, President of the Newtown Federation of Teachers and Dawn Hochsprung's Secretary, Joanne DiDonato.  

Kurowski, stated that his wife who is also an employee of the School District but was home sick that day, provided him with information about what was happening at Sandy Hook while he was within the safe confines of Newtown High School where he is an Anatomy and Physiology teacher.  Kuroski appeared before state and national lawmakers in Hartford and Washington, D.C., appealing for school safety measures, changes to the worker's compensation law to include trauma relief, and other legal protections to assure "this never happens again." He championed school security improvements and mental health and counseling supports for his peers.  Kurowski was honored as the Unionist of the Year Award at the Connecticut chapter of the American Federation of Teachers convention in Southington for his actions after the event on 5/18/2103.  

Joanne DiDonato, who also was absent from work on the day of the shooting, states that she believes she was absent that fateful day to assist her co-workers and students to push forward and heal, one day at a time.  To our knowledge no awards were issued to Ms. DiDonato.

Which leaves Mr. Thorne as one of the few actual heroes that has not been bestowed any award, citation or medal which is somewhat confusing.  It is our opinion, that given the scenarios reported, Mr. Thorne was a man who acted completely like a true hero would;

Like Dawn Hochsprung, Rick Thorne rushed into harms way to confront a heavily armed and crazed killer.  He attempted to order the killer to drop his weapons.  He secured several rooms, ushered teachers and students into their rooms and cleared the hallways of innocent children.  He called 9-1-1 and provided second-by-second accountings of the happenings as they played out so Law Enforcement could quickly and accurately descend upon the killer.  And while jeopardizing his own safety with the killer wasn't risky enough, he also risked his life when Police entered the school;  after all, the Police didn't have an accurate description of the killer, and Mr. Thorne could have just as well been the shooter for all they knew.  We see Mr. Thorne included in on family members tweets recalling his bravery and how his actions likely saved lives that morning.  The event may have only lasted minutes, but if you were Rick Thorne that morning, those minutes likely seemed like hours, not knowing if at any second, he would become the next victim of the killer, or by misidentification in the "fog of war" by the Police rushing in to stop a crazed killer.

We would like to see Rick Thorne receive the proper praise he deserves; the praise he has earned.  If the account of the Sandy Hook Shooting is accurate as its reported to be, then this is a man who is a true hero.  If you know Rick Thorne personally, please thank him on behalf of all parents everywhere as he is a role model.  In our opinion, Mr. Thorne should also receive the Presidential Citizen Medal, if not the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.