Gov. Dan Malloy joined the family of six-year-old Catherine Hubbard, who was killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy, at an event Wednesday to honor the girl's memory with a gift to a foundation named after her.
Malloy handed over the deed for 34.44 acres of land in Newtown to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation. Newtown's first selectman, E. Patricia Llodra, was involved in the process. The land will be used to build an animal sanctuary and wildlife preserve.
"She just loved animals, she was drawn to them," said Jenny Hubbard, Catherine's mother.
After Catherine was killed on Dec. 14, 2012, her parents asked for donations to be made to The Animal Center in Newtown instead of flowers because of their daughter's love of animals. The family later partnered with The Animal Center to devise the plans for the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, which will provide adoption services for companion animals, refuge for farm animals, wildlife rescue and relief services, walking paths, a learning center, a library, educational programs, dog community areas and butterfly gardens.
The land is in the Fairfield Hills property near Old Farm Road.
Newtown leaders looked at different sites around town for the past year before settling on the 34 acres, which was previously used as a former state hospital.
"We're very pleased to have a sanctuary in town. I think it's a wonderful location and will fulfill it's purpose in a very honorable way," said Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra.
Catherine's parents, Jenny and Matt Hubbard, said, "The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary will be a place where all creatures will know that we are kind and they are safe--just as Catherine would have it. We are both humbled and grateful for the support and kindness we have received from the governor’s office, Department of Agriculture, our local and state legislators, and the governor.”
Malloy signed the legislation providing for the handing over of the deed of land in Catherine's name in June. The bill says the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation will be responsible fort he administrative costs of the transfer of land.
The foundation's work does not stop there.
This weekend Catherine's parents will present an inaugural scholarship award in Catherine's honor to a Cornell University Veterinarian student in the Shelter Medicine program.
For more information on the foundation, visit www.cvhfoundation.org.