FAIRFIELD — Winter warmth and appreciation were on the Board of Selectmen’s agenda Wednesday when they recognized the members of both the Police and Fire departments.
For the Fire Department, it was recognition for their third year of Operation Warm, a program that provides new winter coats to students at McKinley School.
Lt. Bob Smith, president of the Fairfield Firefighters Charitable Foundation, said they got involved in the national program after a conversation with a social worker from McKinley about a “desperate need” for warm winter coats. The coats are purchased thanks to donations made to the foundation’s page on the Operation Warm website.
“We donated 100 coats to McKinley,” Smith said. “They’re all brand new coats, made in the USA. They get to pick out the color and coat they want. Over the last three years, they’ve donated 350 coats, Smith said.
And they will likely expand the program to include Holland Hill next year, he said.
The parent of young children, Selectman Chris Tymniak said he knows how quickly a child can grow out of a coat, and how fast coats can become too worn and torn to hand down.
Smith said they are now starting to see coats that they’ve given out being handed down to younger siblings. “It’s actually been very rewarding for us,” he said.
The coat donations, Selectman Kevin Kiley said, is just another example of people in the town to go above and beyond “the normal duties and responsibilities of your job.”
“I think it’s ironic,” First Selectman Mike Tetreau said. “You spend your day job fighting the heat, and here you are providing the heat.”
The coat drive is not in their job descriptions, Tetreau said, but the firefighters took on the task “without any fanfare.”
The selectmen also declared Jan. 9 as Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Fairfield, a movement that began several years ago by families of fallen police officers.
It’s a day, Chief Gary MacNamara said, to thank officers for what they do every day.
“On a local level, there are such great residents in town,” he said. “The Poster (family) have been very instrumental in town in driving that message.”
MacNamara was referring to the Poster family of Fairfield and Joan Poster who owns and operates Poster Animal Hospital, which does a lot for the police department’s K9 force.
Students at Fairfield Country Day School got on jump on appreciation day, thanks to student Jack Eigen. Eigen collected notes of appreciation for the police, and at the meeting, gave a large jar full of the notes to MacNamara. MacNamara said he planned to put the jar out in the department’s booking area so officers could take one on the road with them as they begin their shift.
Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is something that should happen every day, Tymniak said, and Kiley noted that the Law Enforcement Appreciation Day website lists some ways to express thanks, including wearing blue clothing that day and sending thank you notes.