NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a family tragedy that saddened people around the Tri-State Area. Five people died in a Christmas day fire in Stamford, Conn. Three beloved little girls were among the victims.
Months later, their father is on a mission and sharing his memories, reported CBS 2’s Chris Wragge.
It’s difficult for Matthew Badger to deal with the loss of his three darling daughters, but he’s turning his heartbreak into hope by helping other young children.
“Gracie was this wonderful ball of creativity. Lily was more of the poet. Sarah was this wonderful ball of love,” Badger said recently.
Badger is father trying to live with the loss of his little girls, who lost their lives, along with their grandparents, in the Stamford blaze.
“It is very difficult to see why it happened. It doesn’t make any sense and I had just seen them the day before,” Badger said.
Badger said he relies on the memories of that day to help him through the dark days. Investigators said fireplace ashes improperly disposed caused the fire that quickly engulfed the home. The girls’ mother, Madonna Badger, who is still suffering in isolation, and her friend, Michael Borcina, were the only survivors. While the grief is constant, Matthew Badger said he refuses to hide under a rock.
“I had a very hard time making sense of what life was. I couldn’t stop loving my children and that love I put into the creation of the LilySarahGrace Fund.
The website features moving tributes to each of the girls. They loved to sing and dance, so money raised through the fund will go to elementary schools that introduce arts to the classroom. For Matthew Badger, this is his way of making sure his daughters’ short lives touch the lives of others.
“Ultimately, Matthew Badger’s healing will be when he walks into a classroom that has been funded by the memorial I’ve created for my children and I am able to say that. I can say ‘Lily, Gracie and Sarah, we’ve done it,’ and it’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” he said.
Badger said he got some inspiration from one of Gracie’s New York City school teachers. He also got help from the organization Donors Choose, which allows supporters to give money directly to schools.
Badger said it’s a way to keep his daughters’ memories alive.
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