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Dividend Spring 2013 : Page 48

Ben Wyatt, MBA ’01 // Father D Rethinking What Matters trooper who left his polish on for a week while continuing to hand out tickets to truck drivers on the highway. A common theme you’ll hear from many of the families that lost loved ones that day is that something good has to come from this. It can’t be forgotten, and the legacy of those lives needs to stand for something. Amid the politics and recent discussions in Washington that I have been involved in, there has been a dif-ferent activism at work in the past few months. The incredible outpouring of support that we have seen has honestly been overwhelming. We have received thousands of cards, letters, and gifts from people we don’t know all around the world. I now realize I had never before in my life been moved to send a letter offering support to a complete stranger, and had rarely gone out of my way to do something nice for someone I didn’t know. But I am changing that, and I would like you to help me. It shouldn’t take a tragedy like this to bring out the best in us … or to simply treat people decently. Too often, we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day stresses of life that we lose sight of what is really important. If we can’t feel safe simply sending our children to school in the morning, then nothing else matters. Love your children and don’t ever take them for granted. Rather than exposing them to ugliness, let us show them how to make our world a better place. Spend as much time with them as you can and cherish them. Friends of mine set up a memorial charity fund in Allison’s name, and we plan to use donations to support activities like mental health research, as well as positive community programs, particularly for children. Allison is still going to do amazing things for this world. It’s just a little different than I had ever imagined. ecember 14, 2012, was the worst day of my life. My daughter Allison got on her school bus that morning, as she had every school day for a year and a half, but she never came home. Someone walked into Allison’s school, Sandy Hook Elementary, with an arsenal of high-powered weapons and proceeded to murder 20 small children and six adults. Allison was a sweet little girl. She loved to laugh and have fun, much like most innocent six-year-olds. Allie was smart, and as parents do, we had already thought about the great things she was going to accomplish. Her life and legacy were cut far too short that day, when she was shot repeatedly with an assault rifle similar to those used by soldiers in com-bat. It took days to get her poor little body in a condition where we were even allowed to see her. What we saw was no longer our beautiful little girl, but we got to hold her hands and say goodbye. Some of the other families didn’t even get to do that. We haven’t had many good days since December 14, but we’ve kept going. Allison’s younger sister, Lauren, was also in the school that day and knows more than any five-year-old should ever have to know about guns and violence. Lauren has been our rock through the past few months. It is amazing how strong children can be. In the days following the tragedy, Lauren would see my wife or me starting to break down and cry, and she would quietly come over and give us a hug or bring a tissue. She didn’t ask why we were upset — she understood far more clearly than we had expected her to. She un-derstood her big sister was gone and was not coming back. In the first few weeks, our home was full of friends and family. To keep herself busy and entertained, Lauren set up shop painting every-one’s fingernails a variety of bright colors. And I mean everyone’s nails — including mine, her grandfathers’, and a big, burly state PHOTOS COURTESY OF BEN WYATT Learn more about the Allison Wyatt Memorial Fund and the Gift Fund for Allison’s Sister at 48 DIVIDEND SPRING 2013

First Person // Rethinking What Matters // Ben Wyatt, MBA ’01

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