The Christmas tree had been knocked down by Friday morning's high winds long before Carl Zencey arrived at the memorial outside the entrance of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Zencey, who has lived in Newtown for three decades, couldn't leave it like that.
So, as the wind blew and the rain came down sideways, Zencey went to work. He propped the tree up. He looked for a way to screw it back into its stand, and he asked for help.
It looked like an impossible task. But after a lot of effort and with the rain pouring down as hard as it had all morning, Zencey had the tree back up.
"I tend not to look at these things as signs or omens," Zencey said.