Family, friends remember Catherine Hubbard - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Sandy Hook: Tributes to the Lost

Family, friends remember Catherine Hubbard

Catherine Hubbard Catherine Hubbard

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.

The family of Catherine Hubbard is keeping her memory alive through a massive project to build an animal sanctuary in her name.

Catherine Violet Hubbard was known for her fiery red hair, and her love for animals.

"Her life was surrounded by animals," Mother Jenny Hubbard said. "Stuffed, real, she did not discriminate, just animals."

Channel 3 Eyewitness News first spoke to Jenny Hubbard about her daughter in February. She said she knew the best way to memorialize the 6-year-old would be through those little creatures she loved so much.

"She told us that she knew that if she could send the animals back to their families they would tell their families about us and then more would come back," Jenny Hubbard said.

So Jenny and her husband Matthew requested in lieu of flowers, donations be made to their local animal center. Turns out that local animal center had no shelter or building of its own, but had big plans for an animal sanctuary.

"At the core, this will be a place of healing and compassion," Harmoney Verna said. "It's a place where abused, neglected or abandoned animals can come and get a second chance at life."

Over the past year nearly $500,000 has been raised for the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

PH Architects, a Newtown-based firm, donated their time to design a plan for the grounds.

Renderings show the welcome and learning center, adoption area, reflection and butterfly gardens and amphitheater.

"We're (going to) create a place where creatures can come and heal and find tranquility, and Catherine is going to be so proud," Jenny Hubbard said. "She is going to be thrilled that we brought her all her animals."

While the plans are coming together, the Hubbards are still working to find a site for the sanctuary. Catherine's love for animals is also being honored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, granting her the Tommy Monahan Kid-of-the-Year Award.

It's given to a child 14 years old or younger each year who has helped make the world a kinder place for animals.

Jenny Hubbard said she believes when the doors to the sanctuary finally open, Catherine will look down and think it's the most beautiful place on earth.

"I hope that the animal center and her legacy is one of a feeling of grace and compassion," Jenny Hubbard said. "And I hope that in 30 years my son can bring his kids there and say look at what your aunt built."

If you'd like to honor Catherine's memory with a donation, contributions can be made to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation or the Animal Center of Newtown or by calling Eyewitness News at 1-866-539-9372 for a mailing address.

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