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Man Travels Three Hours to Give Out Hugs in Newtown

It was the Massachusetts man's way of showing his solidarity with the town.


Paul Cooperstein said he knows it seemed a little wierd: A grown man driving from the Boston area to Newtown, just to offer people hugs.

But in the wake of one of the most deadly school shootings in U.S. history, the resident of Milton, Mass., decided it was his way of helping. So he got in the car with two of his friends on Sunday and drove nearly three hours to Newtown.

He was outside Super Stop & Shop on Sunday while luminaries were being distributed. He had a sign that read "Free Hugs Available."

Cooperstein said a few dozen people had taken him and his friends up on their offer.

"I came down with an open heart," he said. "I know we did the right thing."

reg smith December 24, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Just read this nice story about one mans' attempt to help the people of Newtown. We in Canada, as all people, were shocked at the news in your town. All Canadians have the victims, families and people of Newtown in their thoughts and prayers.
K December 25, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I am an elementary school teacher who travelled 2 1/2 hours to Newtown from Newport, RI after school on Friday. For some reason I felt drawn to do so. I brought my dog Trixie with me, hoping that perhaps she would bring comfort to someone. She is a very calm, loving, intelligent dog who could be very therapeutic for those directly affected by this tragedy. When I entered the First Methodist Church to say a prayer I was greeted by a wonderful volunteer at the church. Two women from New Jersey came in behind me. They were sisters who drove 2 1/2 hours to deliver a beautiful floral wreath made of white flowers with 26 birds on it that they made with a lot of love for the people of Newtown. Together the four of us prayed for all of those affected by this tragedy. Then we walked across the babbling brook that cuts through the town before continuing uphill to the memorials by the firehouse. I don't know why I was drawn to go to Newtown other than I wanted to comfort someone. I guess that's what the men from Massachusetts, the women from NJ, and I have in common. We are with you, Newtown. I would come back again if anyone would like a hand to hold, an ear to listen, or to help in any way I can. Trixie is a big love bunny. A rescue dog from TN who I am fostering, Trixie could certainly provide some comfort and joy.
K December 25, 2012 at 11:15 AM
I am an elementary school teacher who travelled 2 1/2 hours to Newtown from Newport, RI after school on Friday. For some reason I felt drawn to do so. I brought my dog Trixie with me, hoping that perhaps she would bring comfort to someone. She is a very calm, loving, intelligent dog who could be very therapeutic for those directly affected by this tragedy. When I entered the First Methodist Church to say a prayer I was greeted by a wonderful volunteer at the church. Two women from New Jersey came in behind me. They were sisters who drove 2 1/2 hours to deliver a beautiful floral wreath made of white flowers with 26 birds on it that they made with a lot of love for the people of Newtown. Together the four of us prayed for all of those affected by this tragedy. Then we walked across the babbling brook that cuts through the town before continuing uphill to the memorials by the firehouse. I don't know why I was drawn to go to Newtown other than I wanted to comfort someone. I guess that's what the men from Massachusetts, the women from NJ, and I have in common. We are with you, Newtown. I would come back again (even on Christmas) if anyone would like a hand to hold, an ear to listen, or to help in any way I can. Trixie is a big love bunny. A rescue dog from TN who I am fostering, Trixie could certainly provide some comfort and joy.
jen December 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Thanks so much for sharing. I feel the need to go also. It's just heartbreaking.
K December 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM
I am glad you understand......And I hope the people of Newtown know that I will come visit again on Christmas Day or any other day if I can be of some help or comfort. I do lots of volunteer work and will do anything, no matter how big or small.

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