Pawleys Island woman remembers victims of Newtown shooting

Kathleen Hughes has called Pawleys Island home for the last eight years, but over the last eight days her heart has been in Newtown, Conn.

“My grandson had six of his friends killed. It’s just been the week from hell,” Hughes said about the tragic school shooting Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Before moving to the Grand Strand, Hughes lived in Newtown for 16 years and raised her four children there. All went to Newtown High School.

One son still lives in the small community of 27,000 with his family. Hughes’ 6-year-old grandson, whom she declined to name, played on Little League teams with six of the victims.

“He wanted to pray and just thank them for being his friends,” Hughes said of her grandson’s reaction.

She was notified about the shooting via a news update email from the Newtown Patch.

As of right now, Hughes said she hasn’t donated to any of the charities. She’s wanting to wait until the media onslaught dies down a bit and do something more personal for the town.

One thing she did want to do immediately was let people know that, despite the dark cloud currently hanging over Newtown, it’s a beautiful place and a wonderful town for raising families.

She recalled how, on Halloween, everyone would give money to the residents of Main Street to help offset the costs associated with handing out candy to thousands of trick-or-treaters.

“It’s what Pawleys Island would be if it were bigger,” Hughes said.