Many celebrities have spoken out about their shock and sorrow over Friday’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which resulted in the deaths of 28 people, including 20 children. However, one actress is especially connected to the tragedy – “Blossom” alum Jenna von Oy, who grew up in the quaint town and whose family still resides there.
On Sunday, the 35-year-old, who now lives in Nashville with her husband and infant daughter, Gray, was glued to her TV set watching the prayer vigil, attended by President Obama, at Newtown High School. “Watching the vigil take place at my high school auditorium tonight,” von Oy tweeted during the broadcast. “It's incredibly surreal. Lots of heartfelt prayers going up right now.”
[Related: President Obama Attends Newtown Vigil]
The day before, von Oy offered her condolences to her heartbroken community, where she recently returned to baptize her daughter – in an essay published on People. In it, she also noted that some of the parents who lost their children in the massacre are her friends from high school.
[Related: Victims Identified in CT School Shooting]
"Every school shooting I've ever heard about has been exceedingly heartbreaking and has stirred feelings of both rage and sorrow in me,” wrote von Oy, who played Blossom’s sidekick Six LeMeure on the ‘90s sitcom. “Each one is tragic and awful, and there have been far too many of them in recent years. But Friday's massacre in Newtown has affected me in a profoundly personal way, as I have a unique perspective on the town ... I am blessed to have grown up there.
“I am fiercely proud to say I was born and raised in Newtown,” she continued. “It is where I was brought home from the hospital, attended my first day of kindergarten, learned to ride my bike and climbed my first tree. As I watched President Obama's press conference [on Friday], I sobbed as he mentioned that the children who died had their whole lives ahead of them: graduations, weddings, having children of their own. I have celebrated every one of those milestones in Newtown. ... It is nearly impossible to unscramble my thoughts and put them to paper at a time like this, but I wanted to express my love and support for the town that has given me so many wonderful memories."
In the heartfelt article, von Oy also shared some of the positive recent memories she’s had in the town, which she said “resembles a Norman Rockwell painting.” When von Oy married Dell computer data consultant Brad Bratcher in 2010, she did so at the Dana-Holcombe House, which is a bed and breakfast owned by her former schoolteacher, and located on Main Street in Newtown. Among the 80 or so guests at her wedding was actor Dule Hill, who tweeted her to say he recalled visiting her hometown for the nuptials and sent the actress love and prayers. “So glad you've experienced Newtown's quaint beauty with me and have memories to draw on beyond this horrible tragedy,” von Oy replied.
[Related: Memorials Honor Newtown Victims]
Von Oy also returned to Connecticut after the spring arrival of her daughter. She and her husband had Gray christened at St. Rose of Lima, where another town vigil was held on Friday night.
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