Written Across My Heart: For Sandy Hook Promise | Kevin McClave’s Fundraiser

I launched a fundraiser on my daughter’s 9th birthday. It will run through December 14, 2015.

Miley was 6-years-old and in 1st grade on December 14, 2012. As we sat a safe distance away from the unfolding events in Newtown, I felt a sad affinity for those parents who weren’t as lucky as we were. As lucky as we are. Make no mistake, luck is all that separates us from them.

I’ve written about this in previous entries. It’s something I know I will carry with me for the rest of my days.

Generally speaking, this Crowdrise fundraiser supports Sandy Hook Promise. No matter how much is raised, that goal will be reached.

I wanted to try and really stretch, though.

If we reach the $5,000 goal I have set for this fundraiser, I will get a tattoo, specially designed (TBD), that incorporates the Sandy Hook School logo, a heart, and the number “26.” This tattoo will be inked over my heart. Forever.

I am 51- years-old. I have no tattoos, nor do I want any otherwise. I do, however, carry with me the events of December 14th, 2012. I remind myself daily how lucky we are. The tattoo will simply be a visible symbol of that.

I will pay for (or perhaps have time & talent donated for) the tattoo. None of the proceeds from this fundraiser will be used for that.

If we hit $20,000 for Sandy Hook Promise, I will also have the 26 names of those lost at Sandy Hook tattooed down my arms. 13 on each arm. Forever.

These are very aggressive goals, but Sandy Hook Promise is doing very important work.

Sandy Hook Promise is a national non-profit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

Based in Newtown, Connecticut, its intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning tragedy into transformation.

SHP uses a multi-faceted slate of programs and practices, centered around issues of mental health, anti-isolationism, gun safety, advocacy, and policy, in an attempt to protect children and prevent the senseless, tragic loss of life.

I will say again, and I can’t say enough, that the only thing that separates those of us with our loves still with us, from those who have suffered unspeakable loss, is pure dumb luck. I am lucky. I hope you are lucky, too. I believe with that luck comes a responsibility.

Thank you for your help.


Somebody’s Coming Home

Heart in HandDecember 14, 2012 was the longest day of my life. This isn’t a new revelation for me or for anyone who knows me, but it is one I wanted to revisit today. Especially today.

In the year before that pre-Christmas Friday 2 years ago, I had started to really dig the music of Nathan Bell. I had stumbled across a glowing review of his then-new acoustic album Black Crow Blue, but it was Crow’s self-released predecessors In Tune, On Time, Not Dead and Traitorland that grabbed me first.

Nathan’s work earns the sort of obsessive behavior I put in listening to those 3 albums. His songs are well crafted and True. I love his guitar playing, as well. His art fits very well in my hierarchy of things.

I loved (and still love) a good number of the songs I downloaded from Amazon. I listened to a lot of them a lot of the time. One of my favorites was “Somebody’s Coming Home” from Traitorland. It spoke to me immediately as a father. Listen to the song and that’s an obvious response.

As I sat a safe distance away from Newtown on 12/14, watching, listening, reading with sorrow as the bad news became worse and the worse news became unthinkable, “Somebody’s Coming Home” was forever transformed from one of my favorite songs to my song of thanksgiving.

The wait for that “big yellow school bus” to come around the bend with our own 6-year-old first grader on board was difficult to say the least. I promised myself two things: I would never forget, and I would be mindfully thankful. Thank you to Nathan for writing a song that helps me do both:

 Happy Thanksgiving. May everyone you love come home.

They Will Not Be Forgotten

December 14, 2012 was the longest day of my life.

As the unbelievable horror of the news from Newtown, CT unfolded slowly and painfully for those of us a safe distance away, I was stricken in a way I never have been before. More than by September 11th, by any lost love, or by any physical pain. I still can’t shake that day. In a way, I don’t want to.

I am the father of a 6-year-old 1st grader. The wait for that long yellow bus to come around the bend on December 14th was poignant and difficult. The reunion it brought, intense.

Obviously that day was exponentially worse for the families directly changed forever by the mindless menace of violence.

I can’t forget that day. I can’t forget those beautiful faces, or the heroes who gave their own lives in an attempt to save them. I don’t want anyone else to forget them.

My birhtday is on St. Patrick’s Day and all I want this year is to try in whatever way we can, to help ease pain and suffering that will never fully go away.

I have launched a fundraiser via the great social-networking-for-good Crowdrise website. It will benefit the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, administered by United Way of Western Connecticut, Inc.:

“As people from across the nation and around the world respond to the heartbreaking tragedy at Sandy Hook School, they are turning to United Way looking for ways to help. In response, United Way of Western Connecticut in partnership with Newtown Savings Bank, has created the ‘Sandy Hook School Support Fund.’

This fund will be able to provide support services to the Newtown/Sandy Hook community. A local board of Newtown community leaders is being convened to determine how the fund is most needed and will be best utilized.”

As a former United Way employee and donor, I understand the value of local autonomy and the locally directed, need-based use of funds that United Way uses. The people of Newtown will have a direct say in the way these funds are distributed and put to use.

I am so very lucky to have the people I love with me. Maybe you are lucky, too. Let’s give thanks for this in a very tangible way.

Thank you.

Please check out the Crowdrise fundraiser and help with a donation and by spreading the word.