REMEMBERING SANDY HOOK: The story of a young Ravens fan

Lombardi's Way REMEMBERING SANDY HOOK: The story of a young Ravens fan

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This was originally posted on December 21, 2012


This is a story about a little girl who just a few days ago celebrated a birthday. She’s a happy child with a magnetic personality, engagingly social who laughs and hugs often.

Having entered the world just seven years ago Joey is known for her affection and incredibly wonderful sense of humor for someone so young. She loves to swim, swing, play with her Barbie dolls and enjoys her iPad and computer.

And she really loves her sisters.

Joey’s hair is sandy brown and her cute little bangs rest comfortably above her eyebrows, accentuating her beautiful smiling eyes.

Can you see her?

She touches the lives of many, pretty much all who she comes in contact with: friends, neighbors, teachers, classmates all love and cherish Joey. She’s the kind of child who just makes the world a better place.

Her therapists love her too.

You see Joey despite the daily therapy that she endures to help her cope with autism and severe apraxia, remains a beacon of light in the world because she still possesses an infectious buoyancy that screams, “ENJOY LIFE!”

Can you see her?

Imagine a little girl with an amazingly indomitable spirit, forced to cope with grueling therapy every day of her life when you know she’d prefer to be playing and doing one of her favorite things – swinging.

Yet she remains this bundle of joy.

Born in Maryland and part of a family of Ravens fans, it is only natural that Joey’s favorite color is purple. She rarely leaves the house without wearing purple.

Can you see her?

I want you to picture this bright-eyed little girl.

You probably feel like you know Josephine Grace Gay by now.

And you’ve probably already fallen in love.

Just three days after her 7th birthday Joey attends school. It begins as a fairly normal Friday morning until tragedy strikes.

An insanely enraged man with an unconscionable level of evil in his heart bursts into Joey’s school and unleashes a brutal and furious barrage of assault weaponry that ultimately takes the life of twenty children and some faculty members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Joey is among those lost on this heinously tragic day in America.

Her parents, Bob and Michele Gay, their hearts in tatters over their devastating loss, refuse to allow this tragedy to define the life of one of God’s Rembrandts.

Can you picture Bob and Michele? Imagine their pain?

Yet they persevere with style and “Grace”.

With parents like these no wonder Josephine Grace Gay was so beautiful.

Friends and family honored Joey’s memory during visits by wearing purple. Her sisters and cousins released purple balloons towards the heavens inscribed with messages of love for their fallen Joey.

In her memory and to keep her spirit alive and vibrant, Bob and Michele have established a fund in her name in cooperation with The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. Their wish is to help other families raising autistic children.

I know you have already painted a picture of Joey in your mind. Well here she is enjoying one of her favorite pastimes.

In honor of her memory Joey’s parents have asked everyone to wear purple on Saturday.

And when you do, somewhere above a beautiful little Ravens fan will be smiling.

God bless you Joey!


How to donate:

Online: Doug Flutie Foundation


On the donation page please select “in Memory of” and type “Joey’s Fund” in the box for “acknowledgement/address and comments,”


By Mail:

Send checks to:

The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism

Specify “In Memory of Josephine Gay” on the check.

Mailing address:

The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism

PO Box 767

Framingham, MA 01701


Source: NBC Connecticut

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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