HARTFORD (WITI) -- It was a message of love from a father with many reasons to hate. Buck Blodgett lost his daughter, Jessie in a brutal murder last year. Daniel Bartelt was recently sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Now, Buck Blodgett is working to end male-on-female violence, and he says that mission starts with love.
"Love is greater than hate" is the theme of Buck Blodgett's initiative. That message was seen on blue bracelets and T-shirts at Hartford Union High School Tuesday evening, as Buck Blodgett spoke to a packed house.
"That came from Jessie`s funeral service. I spoke and I said at the end `this has been a devastating blow, honey but your strength is in me too and love will always be stronger than hate` and I had no idea how those words would resonate in our community," Buck Blodgett said.
On Tuesday evening, Buck Blodgett was joined by two survivors of domestic abuse as he spoke with members of the Hartford community. The goal is to raise awareness of man-on-woman violence and to promote love.
Outside the event Tuesday evening, Emily Gruber raised money for the Jessie Blodgett Memorial Fund.
"It`s been really cool to see the community come together and everyone`s been very supportive and anyone who knows about it asks 'what can we do to get involved? What can we do to help?'" Gruber said.
Jessie Blodgett was 19 at the time of her death. In July of 2013, she was raped and strangled in her bedroom.
Daniel Bartelt sentenced to life in prison
During Daniel Bartelt's recent sentencing hearing, Buck Blodgett spoke directly to the man convicted of murdering his daughter.
"I forgive you as I have every single day since we found out it was you. I believe there`s good and bad in all of us, so I don`t demonize or vilify you," Buck Blodgett said at Bartelt's sentencing hearing.
"I still can`t explain it. I don`t know how I did it. It came naturally. I felt like I was supposed to do that, I feel like we`re all supposed to do that," Buck Blodgett said Tuesday.
Buck Blodgett says his "love is greater than hate" initiative might fizzle out in a day or two or it could go global. He hasn`t given much thought to that. He says he`s gonna continue speaking as long as people are listening and when he does speak, he asks men in the audience to take a pledge.