New England Patriots President Jonathan Kraft told 98.5 The Sports Hub Sunday the Kraft family and Kraft Group will be donating $25,000 to help those affected by last Friday’s shooting in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 26 people, including 20 elementary school children.
“Your heart just sinks and you get nauseous and you never would expect anything like that would ever happen [in Newtown] … it’s just horrible,” Jonathan Kraft said.… “Our family [and] the Kraft Group donated some money and we encourage other people who are in a position to do that to do it.”
Friday’s tragedy hit close to the Kraft family because of a box company they own in Newtown with a factory less than two miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“We’ve run a box factory down there, Rand-Whitney Newtown, since the mid-to-late '90s and you’ve heard the people in the media describe it this way but it’s really true that it’s just typical, nice suburban town USA,” Kraft said. “Quiet, beautiful, wooded, it’s not a place you’d expect to hear something like that happen.”
Kraft said he didn’t even hear of Friday’s tragedy until he called Rand-Whitney in Newtown to wish a retiring employee well.
“On Friday, the man who has run that factory for 12 or 13 years is retiring at the end of the year,” Kraft said. “Senior management in the company was going down to spend the day there and both shifts were going to have a party for him and I was calling into [the factory] to talk to him and when I called, the president of our company, Nick Smith, said with the tragedy the [retirement party] plans were really turning [the get together] into more of a grieving session and a chance for people to talk.”
Kraft said he had been in meetings all day and did not know what the company’s president was referring to.
“He told me about it,” Kraft said. “Your heart just sinks.”
Keeping those affected by Friday’s tragedy close to their hearts, the Kraft family and Patriots organization paid tribute to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting with a special, 26-second moment of silence before Sunday night’s football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
“Moments of silence sometimes before sporting events become a little bit cliché and they’re very quick and people will talk through it,” Kraft said. We [had] a moment of silence [Sunday] and some of the people in the office were talking [Saturday] about how we could try to really raise the level of seriousness and reflection.”
During the moment of silence, 26 white flares were lit to honor and remember the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary.
“[We had] 26 white flares that will go up into the air during the moment of silence for each of the 26 victims in the school just as a way to symbolically remember their lives and this horrific action,” Kraft said.
Patriots players also wore black-ribbon decals on the backs of their helmets to pay tribute to Newtown, Conn.
“[It’s] just a small way to tell the rest of the nation we are grieving along with everybody else.”
View the video above to see Sunday’s tribute to the Newtown shooting victims at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.