Dubuque Family "Paying it Forward" in Honor of Connecticut Shooting Victims

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

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By Katie Wiedemann

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Good things can come from tragic events, and that spark of hope is alive in Eastern Iowa.

The mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut inspired a Dubuque family to share some of its recent good fortune.

Last week, State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald awarded a college scholarship worth more than $5000 to a student at Bryant Elementary School.

9-year-old Audrey Kosel was randomly selected from more than 700 students who applied.

It was December 14th when the Kosel family learned Audrey was the winner of $5296. But the celebration quickly became clouded with sorrow.

Gwen Kosel said, "Sandy Hook happened about the same exact time I got the phone call, so we had some good fortune and in our hearts we are thinking there are so many people who didn't have good fortune that day. "

The Kosels decided to use some of the money to open a college savings account for every student in Audrey's class.

Terry Kosel said, "25 dollars is the minimum to open an account. Gwen said to me, 'let's do 25' and I said, 'how about 26?' The symbolism and all. We thought it was a real easy decision. We didn't even have to talk about it. "

The family knows $26 is a only drop in the bucket that is college tuition.

Still, it's important to the them to help students think about their futures, because there are 26 people from Connecticut who no longer have a future.

Gwen said, "there are some kids who went to school last Friday that didn't come home and we are so fortunate to live in the community that we do, so we wanted to pay if forward. "

Paying it forward. Paying it out. Paying respect.

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