Sandy Hook Teachers to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Sandy Hook Teachers to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Campaign leader Sabato Trent has dedicated the last 44 years of his life learning the discipline of Tae Kwon Do. Throughout his career, he’s met highly trained martial artists that have inspired him to be a better person and, above all, be brave. But in December of last year, heroism was redefined for Sabato when he learned of the tragic deaths of six teachers in Newtown, CT who gave their lives while protecting children at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Those people, he said, were real heroes, including a 27-year-old teacher named Victoria Soto.

Last month, Sabato created a campaign on Causes.com asking that the White House pay tribute to Victoria Soto with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Close to 30,000 people signed and, last week, the White House announced plans to honor the six teachers with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, on February 15, 2013.

Sabato reached out to us this week and told us how he first heard Victoria Soto’s story. “I heard about [Victoria Soto's] story, and I wrote an update on my Facebook page. One of my black-belt students commented and said she was a real hero. It made me think, ‘Could I have done what she did?’” Sabato logged on to Causes and searched for an action to support. “I didn’t find anything, so I decided to start a petition.”

Sabato had never created a petition, but he felt a tremendous responsibility to do something. Heroism, for him, is something he’d witnessed firsthand throughout his time in the military; the association between a hero and a soldier were bound tightly. Yet it was the photo of a small town teacher, along with five colleagues, that shook Sabato at his core.

Sabato told us he wanted to start specifically with Victoria Soto’s cause because he hoped to build momentum and eventually honor every teacher that died on December 14. Initially, Sabato only saw a trickle of support. Then, over the course of a few days, more than 10,000 people from around the world had voiced their support, which culminated into 30,000 people signing the petition.

Last week, Sabato learned through his local newspaper that the White House will honor the fallen heroes of Sandy Hook by postumously awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest distinction for civilians in the United States. “Heroic actions, to me, are extreme bravery without thinking about yourself, especially when it’s someone that isn’t trained. The thing that caught my attention about [Victoria] is that I have my own children, and to do something for children that aren’t yours, to me, that’s the biggest sacrifice. And there’s nothing more heroic.”

It’s our mission to help people share what they are passionate about and create real-world change. Thanks for making Causes part of your passion, Sabato.

  • stephanie

    Wow that is amazing I am so happy that they are honoring the fallen teachers. They deserve this honor and many others.

  • Alicia

    Hearth broken is what I have left after each tragedy similar to the one of Sandy Hook

    Elementary School, on the other hand, heroism of Victoria Soto and the other teachers sacrifice, painfully reconforts me with human race because we can do the unthinkable for others and you my friend too cause you claimed to be done what others did not think of. Good man and God bless you. Love from Venezuela.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sabatot1 Sabato Trent

    All 6 were given the 2nd highest civilian award so we know that they were listening to us but politics as usual. Hopefully, Congress will do the right thing and award all 6 the Congressional Gold Medal. The ultimate sacrifice should be acknowledged with the HIGHEST AWARD our country has to offer!

    • David Maddern

      One hopes from here that your Congress can see how these sacrifices can be given some reward in banning military style assault weapons and realise that the Amendment that everyone quotes is exercised by the Militias (Coast Guard, National Guard) and there is little justification for private weapons especially high power rifles.

    • Peter Stephens

      Both medals are considered the same in prestige, the difference being that medal of freedom is awarded by the president. the gold medal is awarded by congress and needs a two third majority, something that in todays political climate would be hard to get, in my opinion.

  • S. Singh (India)

    Wow! this is amazing and I m very very happy that they are honoring the fallen teachers. They are fully deserve this honor.

  • DenisKhan

    well deserved honor for these Angelic teachers!

  • Lauren

    To sacrificed your own welfare for those who couldn’t protect themselves is indeed courage beyond that which was asked of them. For those who fell that day, I send all my love and hope they rest peacefully, and to their families – may you find the love and courage to mend that piece of you heart which has been torn from you. That day will be remembered for the heroism displayed and not just for the horrible waste of life. Many blessings from Australia

  • http://www.facebook.com/ehoenshell1 Elizabeth Hoenshell

    Teachers are true heros because they are there and they care!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.chiarenza.1 Chris Chiarenza

    Thank you Sabato – for taking the time to stand up for these true heroes. They truly deserve this honor and you deserve the credit and appreciation for helping to make it a reality.

  • TJ

    Oh my goodness! That’s so incredibly awesome! :)

  • Pamela

    Amazing!!! Teachers devote so much of themselves & dedication!! Truly honored for their work!! Well done!!!

  • Gear-shone

    Teachers Deserve a 15% Pay Raise!!!

  • Robbie

    They certainly deserve this honor.

  • Kent

    These six special people are certainly deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom but now it should be taken one step further with the rewarding of the Congressional Gold Medal. What they did to protect the children of Sandy Hook was beyond herioc. They sould never be forgotten and anything we can do to preserve their memory is more than worth doing.

  • ramon toro

    Excellent decision.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Chesky/1341104608 James Chesky

    They deserve the honor

  • sweetp

    I’m sure they r with Christ they gave their lives for others like He did love covers a multitude of sins

  • Barbara Pecze

    Good on ya! These brave people died bravely protecting children; their heroism must not go unheeded.

  • Gwynna Whiteowl

    Fantastic. All six teachers deserve to be honoured together with the highest award for sure. Well done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobby.green.3958914 Bobby Green

    let stand together for her the real hero that she is a heart full of love

  • Dr. Ajai Pratap Singh

    Where teachers are respected light of knowledge always glow.

  • pankaj anand

    it reveals that there is still a hope.

  • Donna

    Well done Sabato! These teachers deserve the honor and much more. As a teacher, thank you for moving forward to honor these individuals who make us proud of what we do.

  • Denyse

    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

  • Khwaja Hasan

    Ohhhhhhh its great a young teacher has gave away her self while saving children.Its an lesson for all. May GOD ACCEPT IT.

  • Victoria

    Wow how heart touching thank you victoria soto im glad that they are honoring all of those teachers they deserve this and much more!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.diaz.353 Gloria Diaz

    That’s a great cause for teachers who died to save lives , thanks to Sabato Trent for his passion to acknowledge that these Heros will be remembered !!

  • Harry Odonnell

    The teachers deserve this and much more. Please remember and keep everyone in your prayers.

  • Heather

    We need to put-up a stand when these evil children commit such a crime against us. By honouring these people our grief will be comforted.

  • Jorge Paias

    Yes. Heroes deserve respect.

  • http://www.facebook.com/See3PO Andreas Klein

    Right people seems always to be in the right places and wrong times (for themselves). Why ? Because we have no time to judge people’s character. The event of somebody dying doing the right thing, has even less impact in our collective memory than somebody else’s success story. Will we fondly remember 2013 when teachers went to schools without stun weapons ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/deb.pearlshaffer Deb Pearl-Shaffer

    Amazing! I’m glad they are honoring the fallen teachers. This is the ultimate sacrifice and well deserved.

  • Keenan Lee

    I appreciate the nomination for these teachers yet I think of others that did the same in Columbine and elsewhere. If this is the case then any teacher that dies on duty while saving a student should receive the same honor. National attention shouldn’t be the only criteria. I praise all those that saved students/children with their own lives. I don’t want to take the petition away, I want the same for others that enacted the same courage and sacrifice.

  • http://twitter.com/patriciafelguer patriciafelguerezroh

    For those who felt that day you gave your own wellfare for those who could not protect by themselves. you may fund the courage in your heart. I always remenbered you for the heroism display that day and appreciaton as well a deserved honor for your own sacrfice