Fairfield family helps make wishes come true
For the Parry clan, the Make-A-Wish Foundation's annual fundraising parade in Fairfield is a family affair.
When the charity's Connecticut Chapter held its Walk for Wishes Hero Parade recently, a team of marchers put together by the Parry family raised $2,000 for the foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Fairfield resident Jeff Parry walked the route in honor of his father, Jim Parry, who died suddenly at age 55 last summer. Jim Parry was a retired firefighter who went into New York on Sept. 11, 2001, in response to terrorist attacks. Jim Parry for many years had donated his four New York Giants tickets for a game to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The family no longer has the season tickets but raised money to keep the tradition going, as well as to make other financial contributions to the foundation in an effort to help bring smiles to children's faces.
"He was just very generous -- he just wanted to make someone's day," Jeff Parry said of his father.
The recent fundraising team comprised family members and friends. The team set a goal of raising $1,000 by using Giants tickets as a benchmark because it was a symbol of what Jim Parry did for Make-A-Wish. The team had raised more than $2,000 and the foundation may use the money in any way to benefit a sick child.
The parade covered three miles of roadways in town and gave sick children the chance to ride in fire trucks. Fairfield Deputy Police Chief Chris Lyddy thanked the volunteers and residents for their support and enthusiasm and hundreds of walkers set out for the walk. The firefighters also provided barbecued food for the post-parade party at the beach.
Fairfield firefighter Cory Gripp worked alongside Jim Parry and reached out to the family to see if it wanted to participate in the event in his honor.
Grip said he's happy to be involved with the charity. "That makes life that much happier for the kids -- we're proud to do it," he said.
Those who want to make a donation may go to wishct.kintera.org/walk11 and choose "Sponsor Participant" to select by name.