Family, friends remember Victoria Soto - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Sandy Hook: Tributes to the Lost

Family, friends remember Victoria Soto

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As we approach the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where on Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children and six adults lost their lives, Eyewitness News will share a little about each person's life and how their families are honoring their legacies.

Victoria Soto loved teaching so much. She always was the first one at school and the last to leave.

Soto's family said she lived passionately and loved unconditionally. Now Soto's father has made it his mission to honor his daughter by helping others and moving forward just like she would do.

"From something so ugly that happened, something beautiful is coming out of it," said Carlos Soto as he worked on a playground for another Sandy Hook victim, Emile Parker.

Carlos Soto has helped build every single one of the Sandy Ground playgrounds in Connecticut.

"I know today, right now, my daughter and her students are all looking down saying, 'Another one for us,'" Carlos Soto previously said.

The New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association is building 26 playgrounds in the Tri-State Area, one for each of the victims.

The playgrounds are being built as part of the Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play and will all be in areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

The goal of the project is to "rebuild coastal communities damaged by Superstorm Sandy and simultaneously honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy."

A playground was built in Victoria Soto's hometown of Stratford in honor of her.

While building the playground for Emilie, the construction volunteers had a photo of Victoria Soto hanging proudly inside their truck.

"I help them," Carlos Soto said.

Victoria Soto's passion was teaching and she called her students "her kids."

Carlos Soto said his 27-year-old daughter loved green because it was a Christmas color. She also loved flamingos.

Vicki's 5K Run was held for the first time this year in Stratford where thousands came out, some in costume, and the pink birds dotted the route.

Victoria Soto's family said she was the glue that held the family together and her mantra was "live, laugh, love."

She was eager and excited to be with her first graders every day.

Victoria Soto has been called a hero because she died protecting those students. To her father, she is an angel, still very much with the students she loved.

"I know they are enjoying it up there and my daughter is still giving class to them up there, you know," Carlos Soto said. "And she keeps going forward. And that's what I do."

The Vicki Soto Memorial Fund was a fund set up by her family to help students who aspire to teach and want to pursue the field of education.

People can donate to the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund by clicking here or by calling Eyewitness News at 1-866-539-9372 for a mailing address.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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