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Above and beyond

When Catherine Hubbard's brother asked Trooper Vayan if he would stand at his sister's wake, he did, in full uniform. For three hours. (Hubbard Family Photo/Courtesy AP/File)

I had to hold back tears watching Scott Pelley’s interview with the Hubbard family last night.

On the morning of Dec. 14, while her husband was on a business trip in Switzerland, Jenny Hubbard sent her children Freddy and Catherine to Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Within hours, Jenny was called to the firehouse where her son was waiting. “The first thing I saw was Freddy. As soon as he saw me, he lost it because he kept saying ‘Mama, I can’t find Catherine.”

But she had an instinct.

“I knew in my heart that Catherine was gone,” said Jenny.

What helped the family get through the horror of losing a child was a faith in God, but also Connecticut State Trooper Eddie Vayan.

“I said, ‘My name’s Eddie. I’m a trooper that’s assigned to you. I’m here for whatever you need. I’m not going to leave your side.'”

Every family was assigned a trooper and Eddie was assigned to the Hubbards.

“She (Jenny) told me — ‘I know my daughter’s in heaven.’ And that’s before the official word had gotten to her. She just said, ‘I know my daughter’s in heaven.’ And that’s when tears filled my eyes,” said Vayan.

Trooper Vayan kept reporters away, but he also said he was there for young Freddy, for anything he needed – gave him his cell phone number and his e-mail.

When Freddy asked him if he would stand at his sister’s wake, he did in full uniform. Trooper Vayan was there. For three hours. And he was also there the day Freddy went back to school.

Jenny admits she was terrified. The last time she sent her children to school – one of them hadn’t come back.

Said Jenny, “And I think the only reason that we were able to do that, it’s because we knew that when that bus stopped at the new school Eddie was standing there.”

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