NEWTOWN, Conn. (CNN– First responders in Newtown, Connecticut got a brief respite after a grim weekend in the wake of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Monday morning, firefighters received at the fire station a shipment of Christmas wreaths donated from a wreath farm across the country in Portland, Oregon. Just earlier in the week at a nearby mall, the Portland community experienced their own horrific mass shooting.
There were 26 boxes marked “Happy Holidays” one for each of the victims of Friday’s shooting.
A fireman who had been working across town when the news broke said he knew there was something happening—and he saw the helicopters—but he didn’t think it would be at the scale it wound up being.
“As time went on, we got the reports. Didn’t believe it. Came down the road, it was just all surreal. Seeing all the cars, all this. It’s tough.”
Firefighters tied the wreaths up on a guard rail of an overpass in town.
In addition to responding to the scene Friday morning, that fire house was the gathering place for parents waiting to hear if their children were safe.