Francine Lobis-Wheeler, a 1985 Council Rock graduate who lost her son in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, was featured Monday on the Rachel Maddow Show.
Lobis-Wheeler and her husband, David, sat down with Maddow to discuss their involvement in a new initiative, Sandy Hook Promise. The non-profit organization was founded by victims' families and community members in response to last month’s elementary school shooting.
The Wheelers lost their son, Benjamin, 6, in the attack. Their other son, Nate, also a student at Sandy Hook, survived the shooting.
Sandy Hook Promise plans to honor the 26 lives lost in the shooting by working “to identify and implement holistic, common sense solutions that will make our community and our country safer from similar acts of violence through education, outreach and grass-roots discussion.”
David Wheeler told Maddow he and his wife were inspired to become involved with the organization to uphold the promise they made to be the best parents they could be. “We're still (Ben’s) parents. We're never not going to be his parents,” he said. “Our job for him is to continue to be the greatest parents we can be.”
Lobis-Wheeler said that while nothing can change what happened on Dec. 14, it’s important to take action to ensure it doesn’t occur again.
“I can't change what happened. I know it wasn't our fault; we just sent him to school,” Lobis-Wheeler told Maddow. “I will do whatever I can to protect Nate and to protect Ben's spirit.”
Sandy Hook Promise pledges to “truly honor the lives lost by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation,” according to the website, www.sandyhookpromise.org.
The group has made it its mission to “do everything in our power to be remembered not as the town filled with grief and victims but as the place where real change began.”
While the group has not taken formal positions in the gun control debate, Lobis- Wheeler said she hopes leaders move beyond partisan politics to take appropriate action. “It’s not about your party right now. I really feel like it's about our children,” she said. “We need to keep talking about the children, they are the future of this country.”
In an emotional moment at the end of the segment, Lobis-Wheeler told Maddow that her father would always say Ben was going to do great things. “I just didn't know it was going to be in his death, I thought it was going to be in his life.”
For more information on Sandy Hook Promsie, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org.