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.