Family, friends remember Dylan Hockley - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Sandy Hook: Tributes to the Lost

Family, friends remember Dylan Hockley


As we approach the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where on Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children and six adults lost their lives, Eyewitness News will share a little about each person's life and how their families are honoring their legacies.

The family of Dylan Hockley knew right away their son would continue changing lives even after his life was cut short.

His father, Ian, shares how Dylan's Wings of Change is helping other families one at a time.

"At times remembering is very hard because you remember how he died, what happened and what happened to all of the children," said Ian Hockley.

Six-year-old Dylan Hockley was his big brother's best friend.

"Together they were just buddies, Dylan would love to laugh," said Ian Hockley. "He had the sweetest laugh, he just wanted to be happy."

Ian's wife, Nicole, has become the spokesperson for Sandy Hook Promise, which is the group that announced days after the shooting they wanted real conversation about how to make sure this never happens again. 

The Hockleys started Dylan's Wings of Change, which is a memorial fund solely dedicated to helping autistic children such as Dylan.

Ian Hockley explained the purpose of the foundation.

"I really want to see us help fund really solid research," he said. "I want templates or blueprints, so school can implement technology. A road map from we have nothing to we are fully implemented on all of our children are using this equipment."

Dylan's Wings of Change has focused this past year on fundraising. Ian Hockley ran in the Ragnar Relay Race in Massachusetts where he and a dozen others ran more than 200 miles relay-style.

"It's an amazing experience," Ian Hockley said

The team raised more than $20,000. Next summer, they want to raise even more money. 

"We have a plan to put three teams in this year," Ian Hockley said.

The Hockleys want to team up with a National Autism Charity and Schools to research how mobile technology like iPads can help better engage autistic students.

"So what we want to do is fund research into the appropriate use of technology to assist children with autism and how it matches their leaning styles," Ian Hockley said.

Even the foundation's logo has meaning to this family. The logo is a profile of Dylan, which was  taken from a photo, holding his hand out as he releases a butterfly.

The logo is to portray change. The change the Hockleys want to bring to every child with autism.

"It's hard because of (pause) we'll never forget him," Ian Hockley said. "Even if we didn't have the foundation we would never forget him."

As the one year mark nears, the Hockleys realize more and more how losing Dylan has changed them.

"Its brought us closer as family without a doubt," Ian Hockley said. "At the same time, when the family is together, you realize someone is missing."

However, Hockleys said they get through it knowing he is still helping others.

"He would have developed into a wonderful man, really wonderful, so we're proud of doing something for him," Ian Hockley said.

To learn more or make a donation to Dylan's Wings of Change, click here.

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