By Vanessa Stevens
Southington resident Gerry Terninko has been working hard the last two months sewing capes for Team Wonder Women, a running team formed in honor of Rachel Marie D’Avino, who was one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy last December.
The capes were first used this Saturday during the Sandy Hook Run for the Families that took place in Hartford Saturday.
Team Wonder Women was formed by Rachel’s close friend Anna Cerritelli of Bethlehem.
“When I heard from a friend that this 5K was being held, there was no question of what to do,” Cerritellli said. “I rounded up the closest friends and family of Rachel and told them to spread the word.”
Word reached Michelle Terninko, formerly of Southington, who knew of her mom’s passion for sewing and thought of a great way to get her involved.
“Though I did not know Anna, I reached out to her to ask her if we could help. Anna had team shirts designed, and my Mom offered to make capes for the entire team.”
While Gerry has been sewing since high school, she said sewing is not only a great passion of hers, it’s in her blood.
“My grandfather was a tailor in Ireland, and some of my other relatives over there, whom I’ve never met, also did some amazing things with a sewing machine,” she said.
She says a donor did help defray the cost of the materials, but for two months, Gerry has worked tirelessly on the capes evenings, weekends and on breaks during the day. She has sewn a total of 38 capes so far.
The capes, made for adults, but short enough to be worn by a child, are blue with an image of Rachel surrounded by 26 stars to represent the 26 victims of Sandy Hook.
The image is a real picture of Rachel in life wearing a Wonder Woman swimsuit.
Of the capes, Anna said, “If Rachel could see them, she would be so amazed with how they look and extremely grateful for the hard work Michelle’s mom did. They are the most amazing capes I have ever seen.”
Though this is the largest assignment she has taken on so far, Gerry also is a member of the Apple Valley Quilts Guild, which makes mastectomy pillows and lap quilts for patients at the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center in Hartford, Ct.
Now that the capes are created, Anna and her Team Wonder Women is hoping to grow in size every year and plans to get as much use out of the capes as they all can.
In addition to Saturday’s race, there is a race coming up for Autism Awareness in April. Autism was a cause that Rachel whole- heartedly supported, as a behavioral therapist with incredible patience and ability to work with autistic and other special needs adults and children.
“Throughout her whole life, she was the most wondrous woman, a real-life superhero.” Anna said.
If you would like to make a donation to Team Wonder Woman, You can do so at http://www.crowdrise.com/WonderWomenRunningforRachel.