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Boston bombings bring up painful memory for EKU student from Newtown, Connecticut

By: Brittany Pelletz Email
By: Brittany Pelletz Email

RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) -

It's been a painful few months for Kelly Burton, a junior at Eastern Kentucky University. Burton is from Newtown, Connecticut.

WKYT's Brittany Pelletz sat down with Burton to talk about the deadly shootings in her hometown.

Brittany asks, " What is it like when you hear Adam Lanza's name?"

"I try to avoid the name. I don't like it," says Burton.

Many people have a similar feelings towards the 20-year-old who gunned down twenty students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School back in December. But for Burton, it's much more personal.

"I went to elementary school there. Why would anyone ever shoot my elementary school," Burton asks?

Burton was home in Newtown for winter break when she got the text from her mom, an employee working inside Sandy Hook Elementary that day.

"There's a shooter in the school and we're in lock down. I am safe. And from there my day went upside down," Burton says.

From age 15, Burton was a Sandy Hook Volunteer firefighter, along with her Dad. The day of the shootings, they were both dispatched to the horrific scene.

"All of your emotions go out the door. The only thing you worry about is helping somebody," Burton explains.

It didn't click right away but, Burton later realized she went to high school with Adam Lanza, the shooter.

"I never had a conversation or classes with him but he was always very quiet. He walked around with a briefcase, kept to himself. There was definitely something off about him," Burton says.

But Burton says she never imagined he could be behind anything like this.

After learning about the bombings in Boston, it brought up painful memories for Burton. She says she knew the traumatic experience the people in Boston were going through, "It's hard to see that kind of stuff. You connect with the people who go through it."

Burton admits there are still the difficult days, but says it's important to keep on going, "I want to be able to share my story, help people stay positive because it does get better."

Burton's mother made it out of Sandy Hook Elementary unharmed. Burton did however, know many of the victims who did not.

Burton wears shirts and bracelets made in honor of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims in an effort to never forget what happened to her hometown.

Burton is part of the Fire Science program at EKU. She doesn't know yet what she wants to do when she graduates but says she will definitely be doing something to help people.


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