JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- As Episcopal High School parents watched the horror in Newtown, Conn., unfold, they are reliving their own worst nightmares.
"It just brought back that terrible fear that less than a year ago we all had (of)not knowing that our children were safe," said Episcopal parent Janet Shepherd.
Almost one year ago, a gunman shot and killed principal Dale Reagan, then turned the gun on himself.
Now, watching the tragedy in Newtown, Shepherd knows things could have been so much worse.
"It reminds us how horrific it could have been with our school as the gunman came in with a guitar case of ammunition and had much bigger plans," he said.
Action News obtained a letter sent out to Episcopal parents shortly after the shooting in Connecticut. It offers condolences and a prayer for the children who perished, and for our own community.
"I cannot commend Episcopal enough on how wonderfully they handled the situation," said Shepherd.
Grief counselors are on hand for the Episcopal community as they hear the news pour out of Newtown. Shepherd says it's something they'll cling to in the coming weeks.
"They're still healing. It's something I don't think a child or anyone can ever get over," said Shepherd.
Now, from hundreds of miles away, from one mom to another, all Shepherd can do is offer her deepest condolences and some words of advice.
"Hug your children tightly, tell them it's OK and try to comfort them in any way that you can and just pray for the families that are involved," said Shepherd.