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New London — In his short six years of life, Anthony Bernoudy touched the lives of both those he knew and didn't know.
Anthony, who drowned July 4 at Greens Harbor Beach, was honored Wednesday by the Carabetta family, who are strangers to him and his family but nonetheless touched by the young boy's loss to the community.
"I have a 6-year-old grandson, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks," said JoAnn Carabetta, whose family owns and manages The Homes at Pride Point & Progress Point. "What if this were me or if this happened to my family? I just wanted to do something to remember his life."
Unbeknownst to Carabetta until recently, Anthony had played Little League baseball for the team her family sponsors in New London.
Carabetta invited community leaders, city officials, friends and relatives to attend the ceremony in which a memorial stone engraved with Anthony's name and dates of birth and death was placed outside Pride Point on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Boulder Drive. The stone also has a baseball bat and baseball engraved on it.
Anthony's grandmother, Tara Bernoudy, said she was appreciative of the community's support.
"He was a special little boy, but I just didn't know how special he was until his passing ,because so many people said they were touched by him," she said. "This is helping us through the grieving process."
Bernoudy's mother, Tamyra Bernoudy, said she was happy to see that her son was loved by so many.
"It's a good feeling to know that the community really loves and cares about us," she said.
Little League coaches Andrew Lee and Darrin Britt also attended the memorial.
"He worked twice as hard in every practice, in every game," Lee said of Bernoudy. "He had a smile that would light up a room. He will always be remembered in the New London Little League."
Council President Michael Passero, state Rep. Ernest Hewett, D-New London, and Jane Glover, the city's chief administrative officer, also briefly spoke.
Glover said she thought the memorial was fitting because Anthony was truly a "city kid."
"I mean that in the best possible terms," Glover said. "He knew how to work the crowd. I thought in 20 years from now that he would be mayor."
Other officials in attendance were Councilors Wade Hyslop and Marie Friess-McSparran, and fire officials including Chief Henry Kydd and Battalion Chief Tom Curcio.
Before the ceremony concluded, Carabetta's adult children, William Johnson and Ashley Johnson, and property manager Mayra Lackings presented Tara and Tamyra with Little League T-shirts with Anthony's number 8 on the back.
Tamyra Bernoudy buried her head in her hands and whispered, "Thank you."