Until his wife and two daughters were murdered in a July 2007 home invasion, in Cheshire, Connecticut, Dr. William Petit Jr. was simply a respected endocrinologist.
Not until this year has the trial, conviction, and sentence of death penalty come for one of the suspects, Steven Hayes. Next year the other suspect, Joshua Komisarjevsky, will be tried. Around the world, the violence has been viewed as so senseless that it has been compared in the media to the Truman Capote book 'In Cold Blood' which chronicled the home invasion and subsequent murders of four members of the Clutter family in 1959.
Since the day of the invasion in July of 2007, Dr. Petit has attempted to make sense of the chaos and loss by adding philanthropy to his job description. Dr. Petit has starting and is currently operating the Petit Family Foundation, whose mission includes:
Fostering the education of youth: In honor of his older daughter Hayley who had planned a career in medicine.
Help those with chronic illnesses: In remembrance of his wife, Jennifer, who had suffered from multiple sclerosis.
Aid those affected by violence: In response to the brutal nature of the attack on Dr. Petit's family, his foundation is committed to helping victims of violence with healing and recovery.
The idea for starting the foundation came from his his younger daughter Michaela's remembrance of the words of Mohandas Gandhi, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." Dr. Petit described the founding of his organization in Superior Court, in New Haven, during the sentencing hearing for Hayes.
So far, Dr. Petit has raised almost two million dollars for the foundation. You can learn more about the Petit Family Foundation from their website, or by calling 860-479-1436.
In response to Dr. Petit's philanthropic efforts, the New Haven Register has named Dr. Petit, "Person of the Year."