Benefit in honor of Sandy Hook victims will impact residents of Morton

By Joe Bennett

Benefit in honor of Sandy Hook victims will impact residents of Morton

January 6, 2013 Updated Jan 7, 2013 at 2:46 PM CDT

MORTON, Ill. -- Zach Johnson is on break from his studies at Iowa State University, but he's still keeping busy.

Johnson is helping fulfill the wish of many residents within the village of Morton.

Johnson said, "I saw these people saying, 'My heart goes out to all the victims at Sandy Hook. I wish I could help,' and I thought, why can't we take it to the next level?"

He had been organizing a benefit dinner for the community of Newtown, Connecticut.

He was then informed they had received so many donations, that the proceeds should be used locally.

Now the money raised at benfit will be distributed evenly between Crittenton Centers Crisis Nursery and the children's branch of the downtown plaza planned in Morton.

"To do something specific in the community, I just think it's terrific," said Morton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Daly. "And it does speak to this community of Morton and the people here."

One of those people is Morton resident and preschool teacher at Crittenton Centers, Sarah Berg.

Berg is pleased for the impact it will have both where she works and where she lives.

"I think it says a lot, especially that these kids are so young and this is their vacation, and this what they chose to do," Berg said. "I think that speaks volumes for them."

Zach Johnson is grateful for all of those who volunteered their time, even over the holidays.

"Here we are a bunch of college students, and still we're able to get together and still do something like this," said Johnson. "I think it's a great thing to see all of this happen."

Early planning stages for the Morton downtown plaza are now complete.

Proceeds from the Sandy Hook benefit will go toward the plaza's music garden, tree-house, and pumpkin patch for the children of Morton, all in honor of the children of Newtown.

If you could not attend the event and would still like to donate, you can donate to the fund via