Memorial service remembers the Petits

In remembrance

The Petit Family Foundation was created to remember Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley and Michaela, who died in a 2007 invasion to their Cheshire home. A memorial was held in their honor July 23.

Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 8:47 am | Updated: 9:08 am, Thu Jul 26, 2012.

By Crystal Maldonado The Plainville Citizen | 0 comments

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

That Gandhi quote is the basis for the Petit Family Foundation, created to honor the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, 17-year-old Hayley (a recent graduate of Miss Porter’s School who’d planned to attend Dartmouth College) and 11-year-old Michaela (6th grader at Chase Collegiate School).

The three women died in a 2007 home invasion in Cheshire that severely injured husband, father and former Plainville resident Dr. William Petit Jr.

There was an outpouring of support for the family, including many in Plainville who felt (and still feel) personally impacted by the events that unraveled.

It’s been five years since then.

A memorial was held at Our Lady of Mercy in Plainville July 23 to mark the anniversary and remember the lives of the women who were actively involved in community service – Jennifer in the Methodist church, the local food bank, Heifer International and diabetes organizations; Hayley in the CT Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society; and Michaela with charities that help animals.

The Petit Family Foundation, created in 2008, furthers the family’s philanthropic efforts to fulfill the Gandhi quote – a favorite of Michaela’s – to ‘be the change.’ Funds from the foundation are given to foster the education of young people, especially women in the sciences; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illnesses; and to support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence.

Now, the foundation has several events, some in Plainville, including the GE/Petit Road Race July 14, the GE/Petit 5K Road Race held July 15 and the upcoming Ride for Justice in nearby Bristol Sunday, Sept. 30. It gives scholarships and community service awards to Plainville High School students.

At the public memorial service in 2007, hosted by Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT, Petit Jr. asked those gathered to honor his family’s memory.

“Help a neighbor, fight for a cause, and love your family,” he said.

For more information about the foundation, or to donate, .