The New England Patriots were affected like the rest of America by Friday's tragedy. For the team's ownership, which plans to donate $25,000 to help Newtown, Conn. and its people, it hit a little closer to home.
The Kraft family owns the Rand-Whitney corrugated box plant in Newtown, just a mile from Sandy Hook Elementary School. And it was through that connection that Patriots owner Jonathan Kraft first heard the horrible news on Friday.
It was to be the day the senior management at the factory would celebrate the retirement of one of the managers, who'd worked there for 15 years. Kraft called in during the day to pass along his well-wishes, not having heard about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The president of the company picked up the phone, and told him they had canceled the celebration and were holding counseling sessions instead.
Kraft asked why. The president told him what happened. And with their history of over two decades in Newtown, Jonathan says the decision on how to move forward - to provide help wherever possible - was simple.
"To me, the adults who lost their children in this are so important, the future of the school and how it moves forward is important, the town is important," Kraft said on Sunday morning. "It's not for us to make the decision on what to do with the money. But we're gonna help."
Kraft said the events of Friday also had a profound impact in the Patriots' locker room the last couple days, and one that was very noticeable to him.
"The players have been really effected by it, just hearing guys talk," Kraft said. "You never hear guys talk about current events, but the guys were talking about it on Friday afternoon and Saturday in the building. A lot of guys have young children. A lot of guys have guns. There was a lot of talk here."
To honor the victims, the Patriots will wear decals on the backs of their helmets Sunday, have a moment of silence prior to their Sunday night game against the Niners, and light 26 flares to honor the 26 victims.Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.