JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Hope Columbine Memorial Library is filled with much more than books. It is filled with hope. Its view of the mountains through the windows provide a vision to help leave the hurt behind.
Dawn Anna’s daughter Lauren Townsend was one of those killed at Columbine 20 years ago.
“The kids came to us, Lauren’s friends, and said they want us back in that library where so many kids have been murdered, injured,” Anna told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.
The families wanted to help build a new school library, so Dawn Anna and her husband Bruce Beck joined with others.
Dawn marveled at how the project came together.
“Only five to six weeks after we lost our loved ones, to come look at this place now and see that what has been done with the help of the community and the whole nation is pretty amazing,” she said.
The old library was removed and replaced with an atrium.
Project Hope involved designing and construction. It also represented the beginning steps on the road from tragedy to healing. It became the Hope Columbine Memorial Library built on a hill where some of the killing took place.
Bruce Beck, Lauren’s stepfather remarked how the project became a sort of therapy.
“To have that kind of bonding between the families you think gave us a real springboard to recovery and having to fundraise together really joined us together.”
The Columbine High School library is more than just a place to study. It’s a symbol, according to Dawn Anna.
“The name says it all. “Hope.” It’s a place of rebuilding, unity.”
It is surrounded outside by a tree for each of those who were killed. The library is a work of love by those with huge holes in their hearts.
Dawn Anna realizes it will never go away.
“My goal since April 20 1999 is to do something every day to make my heart bigger so the hole doesn’t seem do large,” she said.
A hole that emerged 20 years ago, that can never be entirely filled.
In the immediate aftermath of the Columbine tragedy people sent checks to Lauren’s family. Since the teen had a passion for animals, with the money they started the Lauren Townsend Wildlife Fund under the Denver Foundation. In the 20 years since, more than $300,000 has been donated.
“It makes us proud … to know that we’re making a difference to so many animals, in her name, which I know that she would love,” Bruce Beck said.