Wilmington family remembers Senator Kennedy

Reported by Kristy Ondo - bio|email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Senator Ted Kennedy's death hit home for a Wilmington family who knew him personally.

When Marie Pridgen-Butler heard about the Senator's death, she contacted WECT to share her story.

In 1993, Butler's son, Crae Pridgen, was badly beaten by three men outside a gay bar in Wilmington.  The incident made national news.

Pridgen and his family members said it was a hate crime that could have made them bitter, but Senator Kennedy reached out to them and stood by their side.

"I'm just touched that I was able to meet him and have some type of relationship with him that changed my life forever," said Pridgen.

Butler is very grateful to the long-time Massachusetts Senator who gave so much to those in need.

"It's a great loss and I think the country has lost a great human being," said Butler.  "But personally, Crae and I have lost a friend, one that truly gave back to us when he didn't have to."

Pridgen said he kept in touch with Senator Kennedy for years and he will miss him greatly.

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