‘She Was A Beautiful, Talented Soul’
By Lisa Finn
Original Source: patch.com
EAST HAMPTON, NY — Drew Scott, longtime News 12 anchor and reporter, retired recently and shared the news that he will dedicate his time to raising awareness about the deadly opioid epidemic that claimed the life of his beautiful granddaughter Hallie Ulrich, 22, who was found dead on an East Hampton road in September after a battle with heroin addiction.
“After 47 years in the news business and 9,000 stories told, I anchored News 12 for the last time,” Scott wrote on Facebook. “I plan to spend more time with family and help in the fight against #Opioidaddiction in honor of my granddaughter #HallieRaeUlrich. It’s not good-bye. Just so long for now.”
Faced with tremendous grief, Hallie’s family has shared the memories of her vibrant life, remembering her artistic gifts and creativity at a memorial on the beach in Sag Harbor.
Scott also shared memories of his granddaughter, who left behind a twin sister named Ellison.
“Hallie was the quiet twin who loved hooping, painting and art,” Scott said. “The few months before her death, she worked at ‘Behind The Fence’ Gallery in Southampton, arranging displays and painting some of the figurines.”
Describing the photo above, Scott said it was “a colorful cow ordered by a honey farm in California. Another one she painted was a Dan’s Papers lobster figurine now on display near the Lobster Inn.”
Rich memories offer comfort during this dark time, as Scott shared recollections of the girl who touched countless lives with her bright smile and caring spirit.
“Last winter, Hallie stayed with my daughter in Vermont and bonded with her three-year old; she was very gentle — and the baby loved her and kept asking for her after her death,” he said.
Another story her family was told involved a parrot in a cage, Scott said.
“Hallie loved animals, was a vegetarian and complained that the parrot shouldn’t be caged,” he said. “The owner said no, and she told us that was ‘unacceptable!’ She began teaching the parrot to say the word, and to this day there is a parrot somewhere on the East End that keeps saying ‘unacceptable.'”
Since the time she was a little girl, Scott said, his granddaughter was a bright spot of joy in the lives of the many she touched with her shining spirit.
“She would often message me or call me when she saw me anchoring on News 12, and she would always show respect and love for her grandmother and me,” he said.
He added that Hallie helped her grandmother Vivian, a breast cancer survivor, to walk, and often stayed behind to tend to her.
Fighting addiction in Hallie’s memory
Scott said he plans to dedicate his days to helping others struggling with addiction.
Southampton Town asked him to co-chair its newly formed Opioid Heroin Task Force, which is meeting next week, and the Long Island Community Association asked him to chair an opioid seminar with the Long Island Association, also next week, in Melville.
“I’ll be carrying Hallie’s picture and trying to put a personal ‘face’ on this growing epidemic,” Scott said. “There is a stigma to opiate deaths. Many families are embarrassed and hide the fact that their kid is addicted or, God forbid, died. I want to change that. This is a disease, and when youngsters are afflicted with cancer or other physical problems, people want to help, but seem to shy away many times when the problem turns out to be addiction.”
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he is happy that Scott will be joining the task force.
“Drew Scott’s whole life has been rocked by this recent event,” Schneiderman said. “And yet, he’s willing to step up and co-chair this task force. Drew has an important role to play within the community. He’s a trusted voice and well known, and he’s been personally affected — and really wants to make a difference.”
Of his granddaughter, Scott added, “We are sick over how she was left on the side of a road. Hallie was not a ‘junkie,’ but a beautiful talented soul who let a bad relationship lead her astray.”
Sharing photos of his radiant granddaughter — one taken of her in Westhampton Beach in 2016 in a hat, while she was browsing through stores — the memories shine through, clear and vibrant.
“I put the hat on her head and snapped the photo with my iPhone,” he said. He also shared Hallie and Ellison’s 2013 prom photos from Pierson High School.
Devastated friends struggle to make sense of Hallie’s tragic death. One woman posted on Facebook, “A beautiful child betrayed by life, caught up in the undertow of the unscrupulous, has left us too soon, through no fault of her own. Time to change the tides.”
A gifted artist, athlete and hooper, Hallie’s life was infused with beauty and magic — and those who loved her say her memory will live with them forever.
Hallie’s journal writing, included some that was reprinted on her funeral program, reflects the haunting sadness of a life cut short.
But not now
For I have grown weary
This day has made me tired
So I bid you farewell
In the hopes that I will receive lovely dreams from my subconscious –
– Hallie Rae
Photos courtesy Drew Scott.
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