BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBS) – It could have been one of the most difficult days Bob and Michele Gay have ever seen…their late daughter’s birthday. Josephine Gay, known as Joey, had just celebrated her seventh birthday when she was shot to death three days later by a suicidal gunman inside Sandy Hook Elementary last year.
After the shooting, her parents moved to the Boston area. Now instead of focusing on their loss, they celebrated her birthday at a new playground opened Tuesday on a storm-ravaged beach in Bridgeport, Connecticut. “It’s unbelievable,” said Bob Gay looking at the newly constructed jungle gym in Joey’s favorite color purple.
It’s part of a project called “Where Angels Play”, combining two disasters: the Sandy Hook massacre and Superstorm Sandy. Volunteers are building a playground for each of the 26 Sandy Hook victims in different areas affected by the storm. Joey Gay’s playground sits on a beach in Bridgeport, Connecticut. “She would love this,” said her father. “A Playground on the beach,” added her mother Michele Gay. “What could be better?”
Since Joey had autism, the equipment is decorated with “Autism Speaks” logos and purple puzzle pieces. It also has a ramp, so children with all kinds of special needs have access.
The timing gives her parents goosebumps. Their daughter’s playground opened on her birthday, December 11th, and three days before the first anniversary of her death. “If I could take the 14th off the calendar, I would do it. I just don’t want to go through that day. I’m just going to enjoy this one and then worry about that,” said Bob Gay. His wife added, “I think we got the message from her loud and clear that this is what’s important. We’re celebrating.”
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