Local author organizes Sandy Hook fundraiser
Ryan Summerlin May 31, 2013
People across the country felt the shock when a gunman fatally shot 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last winter.
They began sending money, stuffed animals, prayers and condolences to the community and families that were affected by the senseless violence and loss.
Park City-based author Bobbie Pyron was one of these people who felt compelled to something.
"I signed petitions and wrote my representatives, but didn’t feel like anything was making a difference," Pyron said during an interview with The Park Record. "Nothing seemed right."
A couple of months ago, Pyron read an article about Catherine Violet Hubbard, one of the children who lost their lives in the shooting.
"Her parents said Catherine’s dream was to establish an animal sanctuary in Newtown," said Pyron, who is known for her novels about dogs. "When she died, they said they would do almost anything keep their daughter’s memory alive."
Pyron took that as a cue to start up an online auction that will feature 40 books signed by 34 established authors to raise money for Newtown’s Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.
The auction will begin Monday, June 3, and end at midnight on Aug. 16.
Some of the authors who will participate in the auction include Patricia MacLachlan, author of the Newbery Award-winning "Sarah, Plain and Tall," Cynthia Lord, author of the Newbery Award–winner "Rules" and W. Bruce Cameron, whose book "A Dog’s Purpose" spent 52 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list.
Other writers who are participating include National Book Award winner Katherine Erskine and New York Times best selling writer Ruta Sepetys.
"I’ve been overwhelmed by the response because some of them are New York Times best sellers, Newbery Award and National Book Award winners, so there will be something for everyone — middle-grade books, picture books, adult fiction and a couple of nonfiction books," Pyron said.
The signed books will be posted on her website at www.bobbiepyron.com/auction .
"Every day I will post a group of around three books that will be auctioned off that day," Pyron said. "People can send me a bid via an email that was set up for this cause."
The email is private so no one, but Pyron, will know who submitted the bid and how much the bid was.
"The nice thing is they don’t have to just bid on books that are posted on a certain day," Pyron explained. "They can bid on books posted previously throughout the two weeks."
Pyron will post updates about how high the bids have gone throughout the auction.
"Once it all ends, I will notify the winners and give them a couple of options for payment," she said. "Once I get the payment, I will ship out the books."
All the funds raised will be sent to the animal shelter fund.
"We are all taking care of the postage, so that 100 percent of the money, every penny, raised during the auction and donations will be sent to the sanctuary," Pyron said.
At the present, there is no animal-sanctuary facility in Newtown, but there is an organization called The Animal Center, which takes care of and rehabilitates abused and neglected pets through foster families.
"The Animal Center is kind of like what Friends of Animals Utah was like 10 years ago," said Pyron, who volunteers at the nonprofit’s rehabilitation ranch in Brown’s Canyon.
"It was Catherine’s dream for The Animal Center to have it’s own building to the point that she even had her own business cards printed that said ‘Catherine’s Shelter’ and she designated herself as an animal keeper," Pyron said.
The writer’s goal is to raise between $1,500 to $2,000.
"The town has already raised a couple hundred thousand dollars so far through donations from people around the country, but I know from my own volunteer work, it takes quite a bit of money to build an animal sanctuary facility," she said. "I have been in contact with Catherine’s parents, and I am working with a person at the Newtown Sanctuary to get everything coordinated.
"I’m also hoping if people don’t win a book, or just not interested in any of the books, that they would want to donate something," Pyron said. "They can do that at the auction website as well."
For more information or to make a big for the online book auction, visit www.bobbiepyron.com/auction .