Surrounded by co-workers and customers, the mother of two sons, ages 8 and 20, found herself glued to the television in her hair salon, Rumors on 10th, throughout the day.
As news unfolded of the devastation at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Will said she began to think of a way to pay tribute to the lost lives.
“It comes from me being a mom,” she said. “This hits home.”
On Saturday, Dec. 15, she approached her apprentice Jordian Shippley and student Kayla Chelman in her salon at 118 W. 10th St. and told them, “I have a project for you.”
She instructed them to make 20 angels, each cut from a sheet of paper.
“They had no idea what I was talking about,” she said. “It was all in my head.”
The next step was finding the right words to write on the angels before taping them to her salon window. Not knowing the names of the victims, she had her helpers write “little angel” and Friday’s date.
Later that day, she read the names of the Sandy Hook victims in a newspaper at Barista’s coffee shop next door to the salon. She immediately told Shippley and Chelman to take down all the angels and add the first name of a child to each — and make six more to represent the fallen educators.
When the angels were completed and back in the salon window, Will organized an evening vigil for Sunday, Dec. 16, at the city holiday tree in the plaza at Sixth Street and Central Avenue.
She led an hour-long gathering of friends and strangers listening to Christmas songs playing on her iPhone before the glow of vigil candles.
Sitting in her salon Wednesday, Dec. 19, Will said she feels a bit of pride every time she sees someone stop and take a moment to look at the angels in her salon window.
“I’m glad it’s being noticed,” she said. “This is a small town and that was a small town. … To me this affected our whole world. This was devastating, and we needed something to bring people together.”
The angels will remain in the salon window until Christmas Eve, when she and her husband, Thomas, and her 8-year-old son, Cole, will take them down and “put them to rest.”
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.