Treatment for the mentally ill is also part of her focus. Working in a closed mental hospital reinforces that. Society's failure to recognize how deeply disturbed Adam Lanza was, she says, is one more key component in preventing a mass shooting like this from happening again.
"It's just my nature to try to understand why things are the way they are," she says. "I've been woefully unsuccessful in making any meaning out of this at all. And part of that is I don't know what happened with Adam Lanza -- why he turned into a person who was so hateful and had so much self-hatred.
"We don't know what it is, but we better figure it out. That's an obligation we have."
Even with all the investigations, all the hearings on Capitol Hill and all the debate across the nation, one question looms over Newtown like a suppressive fog: Why?
Coming out of the cocoon
I returned to Newtown to speak with those affected by what happened. I had covered the tragedy in the week after the shooting and wondered how the town of 28,000 was coping in its aftermath. I especially wanted to talk with gun owners about what it's like to bear arms in a place where gun violence left such a scar.
Walking the streets of Newtown, listening to residents and their stories, it became clear that what happened here is much larger than guns.
It's a lesson of loss and recovery, and how the actions of one man still affect the lives of so many. I spoke with more than two dozen Newtowners who shared their thoughts, even their darkest moments, and met five residents who collectively embody the community's soul.
A father wears a silver-plated belt buckle with a boy sitting beneath a mourning horse: "Jesse 2006-2012." A teenager rubs a bracelet with all the victims' names to find comfort. A doctor fights for medical research to study gun violence across America. A rabbi contemplates why society has become so barbaric. And Llodra tries to keep the town together.
The tragedy has changed them all and altered their beliefs on guns, on society, on mental illness. Their sadness is profound, yet so is their resiliency.
One symbol has emerged in town: the butterfly in honor of Dylan Hockley, a 6-year-old killed inside the school. Dylan had autism and, when he got happy, he flapped his arms like a butterfly.
Just like a butterfly's metamorphosis, Newtowners are determined to transform the tragedy here into a form of action. Doing nothing would mean those 26 victims -- those "20 little angels," as they say, and their six adult protectors -- died in vain.
"Our collective strength and resilience will serve as an example to the rest of the world," the high school principal told students upon their return to school. It has become a mantra repeated by residents and posted on signs around town.
More than 60 organizations have formed here since the tragedy, from grass-roots activist groups to charities helping victims' families.
The resilience of Newtowners keeps getting tested -- by gun manufacturers, by the National Rifle Association, by lawmakers who balk at tightening gun laws. It's then that residents rely on their strength to keep pressing forward.
Llodra says she wants Newtown to be "remembered for being honorable in the struggle that we had since December 14 -- that we were courageous, that we worked together, that we helped each other, that we recognized that we're all in this together."
A sign on a window across from her office reads simply, "We are Sandy Hook. We choose love."
'Best friends and best buddies'
Jesse Lewis burst into this world around 6:30 p.m. on June 30, 2006, weighing in at a hefty 11 pounds and stretching 23¼ inches.
"Happiest day of my life and the best day of my life," says Neil Heslin.
The boy came to Heslin late in life. He was 44 and thought the days of ever becoming a father had passed him years before. Dad didn't cut the cord, but he was there for the delivery.
He held Jesse right away and thought how his life was blessed.
The bonds between father and son only grew. The two fished, hiked and rode horses together. By then, Heslin and Jesse's mother, Scarlett Lewis, had split. He lived with his mother at Wild Rose Farm, where Jesse was first put in a saddle at the age of 2.
Every moment Heslin spent with his son was precious. Jesse played soccer in a local league, but he mostly loved shooting hoops and throwing the football with his father.
"I don't really like playing on a team," Jesse would say. "I just like playing with you, Dad."