A Father’s Day Message From Bob Gay, Joey’s Dad

Happy Fathers’ Day! Today is that one day a year where many of us wake up to homemade gifts, cards and under-cooked pancakes–which, under the circumstances, probably taste fabulous!

 It’s been almost five years since we lost our youngest daughter Josephine Grace at Sandy Hook School. The happiness of this day is always tinged by a feeling of loss and the pain of missing her.

As dads we are our family’s protectors, and our kids know that when their world seems difficult, we will be there for them. We fix broken bikes, build cool stuff and talk about strategies for handling the mean kid at school. Becoming a dad makes us all more aware of the dangers in this world. Before kids, we didn’t have much to worry about and protect; as fathers we have the most precious things in the world–our kids.

I’ve had many pre-dawn conversations with myself regarding what I could have done to protect my daughter Joey on that terrible day. When she was killed, I was at work 150 miles away. People tell me not to be hard on myself and that there is nothing I could have done. For my part, I never imagined that my child’s elementary school could be a place of danger and horror.

Each day we send our children off to school in the care of educators, administrators and public safety people. We have met many of these people; they are dedicated professionals who care about our children.  But the system is not perfect and as we have seen many times since Sandy Hook, there are gaps where someone with evil intent can cause harm.

In the partnership of administrators, educators, public safety people and parents, each of us plays an important role. As parents we are responsible for getting involved in our child’s school to ask tough questions, offer ideas and ensure that the school community is embracing a strategy for safety appropriate for the world we now live in. As dads we often find it’s easy to leave it to mom to handle the school matters; but we dads are an important part of the solution, an important part of the team. Come to the Safe and Sound website, become informed, and if you aren’t already, get involved at your kid’s school. When it comes to school safety, it takes all hands—dads included

God Bless all fathers today and every day.

Bob Gay

7 replies
  1. Ken Tork
    Ken Tork says:

    Beautifully written sir! My personal prayers have always been with you my brother! We have not met yet and I hope to have that honor someday. Until then please know that you have a great many men behind you lifting you up. Stay strong my friend!

    • Safe and Sound Schools
      Safe and Sound Schools says:

      Thank you so much, Ken. Michele has spoken of you several times. I hope to meet you one day too. My prayers are with you too on this Father’s Day!

  2. Lorna Szalay
    Lorna Szalay says:

    You and your family have endured the greatest loss, and I am truly sorry that was the catalyst for founding this organization. Please know your efforts to educate others in recognizing and addressing safety issues in our school environments will help prevent others from the kind of loss you suffered.

  3. June
    June says:

    You are a very courageous man with more of a spiritual nature than most men under any circumstances. I admire you and pray for your family. I hope your Father’s Day was peaceful.

  4. Betsey Riedl
    Betsey Riedl says:

    Please believe that this tragedy touched way more hearts than just those in the surrounding area. Your pain is beyond anything a parent should know. I hope you are finding some peace and happiness today and every day.

  5. Brett Morgan
    Brett Morgan says:

    So well written and you are a great Father.

    Our best to all of you- we miss you on Ruddock Road!


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