Elim Park donates $390k to Fire and Police departments
By Captain Brian Owen
February 21, 2020

Elim Park Place has been an important fixture in the Cheshire community since it moved to town in 1958, helping to support the surrounding community and vice-versa.

In carrying on that tradition, on Feb. 13, Elim Park gifted both the Cheshire Police and Fire Departments with a $195,000 check, which officials state will be used for everything from the purchase of equipment to offering officers and firefighters specialized training.

The presentation of the checks was made during a ceremony last week, hosted by President and CEO of Elim Park, Brian Bedard.

“This gives us, as a community, an opportunity to acknowledge all that you do and it makes us a part of it in some way,” he said, about the PD and FD. “… I often think, ‘What if false alarms weren’t false?’ It’s so nice to have people who are willing to run towards danger in order to save us.”

Bedard showed a YouTube video to the audience depicting what first responders and police officers deal with on a daily basis. Bedard then introduced Cheshire Town Manager Sean Kimball, Cheshire Police Chief Neil Dryfe, and Cheshire Fire Chief Jack Casner to the audience and explained how both the Fire and Police Departments work closely with Elim Park on a consistent basis to ensure the safety of the residents.

“Despite the fear and anxiety, these officers risk their lives every day in order to ensure our safety, and that’s so important to us,” Bedard added.

The money — this year a total of $390,000 — is donated each year in recognition of the services provided to Elim Park which, because of its status as a religiously affiliated organization, does not pay taxes to the Town of Cheshire.

“I often say, every time you call 911 and an officer comes, something on the officer, and likely something in the patrol car that took them there, was paid for by this gift, so we all thank you,” said Dryfe.

“The men and women who utilize the funds from this gift account certainly thank you for what you’ve given and appreciate the friendly efforts everyone has always afforded us over the years,” Casner said.

Both Dryfe and Casner insisted that the money they receive every year from Elim Park is critical to the success of their departments, and help directly with items and training that the police officers and firefighters might not otherwise receive.

“We usually use the funds for equipment. In the past we’ve purchased ATVs and radios,” explained Dryfe.

“We use the funds for specialized training mostly. If we need to send anyone out for training or have training here, we only use the gift account, nothing else,” Casner added.

Before they left the stage, Bedard asked Elim Park Chaplain Wayne Detzler to offer up a blessing for all local emergency personnel.