Incorporated as a town in 1823, the town is named after James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States.
Although good fences make good neighbors, most people will agree that on the whole, neighbors are positive contributors to quality of life. In Monroe’s case, however, its role of neighbor was brought painfully into play.
The town of Monroe has for a long time been intertwined with Newtown, its Fairfield County neighbor to the north — the way towns that share a border often are. Residents of each have regularly crossed town lines without giving it much thought, dropping off children at day care, or rushing to make little league games.
According to a profile of Monroe in the New York Times in February of 2013, the nature of the relationship abruptly intensified in mid-December, on the day a young man forced his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and shot to death 20 children and 6 school employees. The voids left by the shootings also gaped in Monroe, where everybody seemed to know somebody in Newtown who had been affected.
Monroe responded by offering up an empty school building to serve temporarily for the surviving Sandy Hook children. The building came rent-free — Newtown must simply cover the utilities and other interior costs.
Residents also held a fundraiser at the Waterview banquet facility, on the Monroe side of Lake Zoar. It sold out, raising some $50,000 for the victims’ families. “The owner donated the food,” said Davinder Heslin, one of the organizers. “Someone donated alcohol; the band played for free. At the end of the night, the staff had $1,400 in tips, and they even donated that.”
Everybody longs to feel secure in this uncertain and often frightening world. Sending off beloved children to school should never mean placing them in danger. Who wouldn’t do anything they could to make sure their homes and families are protected.
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