Madison Patch reader Linda sent us the following message: "I think it is important for everyone to know that Madison police department had officers on the road for the Newtown officers to get the holiday off, as it was much needed. Our PD does some good things, let's let everyone know." So we checked with the Madison Police Department and this is what they said.
"We did have three officers volunteer to go," said Madison Police Department spokesman Joseph Race. "It was a known fact that their guys were running long days [following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School]. We had a couple of people on schedules where they could do it on their own time."
Race said Madison Police Sgt. William Roy, Madison Police Officer Alexandra Blackwell, and Madison Police Officer Officer Thomas Bull volunteered to help.
"They each did a shift. Sgt. Roy did midnight to morning of the 23rd. Blackwell, into the morning of the 24th. And Bull did 4 p.m. to midnight on Christmas Eve," Race said. "They went up there, helped out, and experienced what was going on in that part of the state."
"Unconditional support ... has been overwhelming"
On the Newtown Police Department website, Newtown Police Chief Michael K. Kehoe gave thanks to all of the police officers who helped out.
"I appreciate the many area police departments and the Connecticut State Police, who have provided immediate assistance in our time of need. The unconditional support of the law enforcement community as we investigate and recover has been overwhelming," Chief Kehoe said.
"Processing multiple crime scenes in Newtown, conducting countless interviews, and analyzing all of the evidence is very daunting and time-consuming task. Newtown Police Officers are working with state and federal authorities to thoroughly and professionally analyze all aspects of this crime as we seek answers."
Kelsey Springs, Madison Foundation and Network Connecticut showing support as well
Others in Madison are finding ways to express support as well.
Madison resident Greg Dowler helped organize the annual Christmas Luminary Tradition in his Kelsey Springs neighborhood. As the day turned to dusk on Kelsey Springs on Christmas Eve, Greg and other neighborhood residents lit luminaries all up and down the street.
This year, it was dedicated to those we lost in Newtown. "This year we feel it appropriate to do the tradition in honor of the 26 innocent people who were taken from us in Sandy Hook," Greg said.
The Madison Foundation has set up a specific fund to help Newtown. Those who are interested in contributing can check out our earlier story on that.
Madison resident Ann Nyberg, on her networkconnecticut.com site, also has gathered links and resources for people interested in learning more about how to help Newtown.
Prayers for peace and for those suffering being offered at the Mercy Center in Madison
At the Mercy Center on Neck Road in Madison, those we lost in Newtown were among those remembered at a Taize Prayer for Peace on Friday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. The survivors were also among the intentions of those who were praying together.
The Taize Prayer for Peace, a "contemplative prayer experience for peace in the world, in our families, and in our hearts," will be held the first Friday of every month at the Mercy Center. Simple chanting, readings, and candlelight will be shared among those attending.
In addition, the Mercy Center is offering "Come As You Are Mondays," on Jan. 7, 14, 21, and 28, and Feb. 4 and 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees can stay for any period of time.
"In light of the tragedy in Newtown we are ever more mindful of the need to sit in quiet contemplation as we seek to make sense of the hurts and sufferings present in the world today," the Mercy Center says about the Monday sessions. "Come to the water, come to the quiet for a morning of self-directed renewal and reflection; come as you are with your sorrows and fears, your hopes and your joys. Staff will offer prayer at noon followed by a light lunch."