Fairfield is a very special town. This Thanksgiving was a very memorable holiday for me and my family. It was the first one without my mom, who passed away in June. The holiday was brightened by my brother Bill completing his tour of duty in Afghanistan and being able to join all of us at the family table. All of this combined to make Thanksgiving a meaningful time that influenced the way I experienced the holiday.
When I reflect on everything that was going on in town, it can be overwhelming. However, wherever I looked, there was an all-embracing theme of generosity throughout our community. Fairfield really took to heart the spirit of giving and sharing with those in need.
The holiday spirit started the Monday before Thanksgiving with our local Rotary Club collecting food and canned goods for Operation Hope. The Rotarians are always there when our community is in need, and those served by Operation Hope definitely needed a boost. I can still see the photo of the empty food shelves in Operation Hope's pantry that was published in the local news media.
On Wednesday evening, I attended a menorah lighting on Sherman Green. It was quite a surprise to see each of the candles waiting to be lit sitting atop a collection of canned goods. It made a rainy night less noticeable when I was told that the canned goods were destined for Operation Hope. This is another sign of the generosity in our community.
On Thanksgiving morning, I was up bright and early to eat breakfast at Chip's on Tunxis Hill Cutoff where they were holding an annual fundraiser for Operation Hope -- a pancake breakfast -- with the proceeds going to put food on the empty shelves. The smiles on everyone's faces showed the joy in giving and sharing.
I was then off to see the Ludlowe vs. Warde Football Classic. In addition to the game, the schools jointly sponsored a food drive for Operation Hope. I was able to drop off some canned goods on the way into the game. A truck soon became filled with donations. It was cold and windy at the game, but this definitely warmed the soul. Our high school students really understood the meaning of Thanksgiving.
On Saturday, the annual Sticks for Soldiers fundraiser was held at Fairfield Ludlowe. This local lacrosse organization brought out over 800 players to help raise over $80,000 for the benefit of two soldiers and their families. These two veterans were injured during their tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a tremendous compliment to the youth of today to donate their time to raise this generous amount of money for our veterans.
Additionally on Saturday, the Fairfield Board of Selectmen and our state legislative delegation held a food and coat drive. The food collected went to Operation Hope, and the coats were brought to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. Car after car came by old Town Hall, dropping off their donations. It was amazing how many people stopped by. Students from Wakeman Boys & Girls Club also volunteered their time to help out. Somehow it felt a lot less cold with this spirit of giving being shared.
All of this reminded me why our community is such a special place. Fairfield really came together to help those in need, giving our neighbors food and coats and the comfort of knowing we stand behind those who need our help. I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to all who helped make this a very special Thanksgiving for our town.
Michael Tetreau is Fairfield's first selectman.