CHESHIRE — Elim Park Retirement Community presented the town with $360,000 to split between the fire and police departments during a community meeting on Thursday.
“We just feel a strong commitment to supporting the town because they support us,” said Brian Bedard, Elim Park president and CEO. “It’s not the money that matters, it’s what they do with the money and how many people it touches.”
Town Manager Michael Milone said over the last several years, funds from Elim Park have gone toward purchasing tasers, body cameras, cameras for police cruisers, defibrillators, bullet proof vests, and a ladder truck, among other things.
“There isn’t a time when a vehicle — police department or the fire department — rolls in here that we can’t point to it and say ‘if not for Elim Park, we wouldn’t have this,’” Milone said.
Police Chief Neil Dryfe said last year’s $175,000 check went toward the department’s initial purchase of Naloxone. The drug has saved at least three overdose patients, he added.
The money has also gone toward officer training, including training out-of-state, which Dryfe said they wouldn’t be able to afford without Elim Park.
Milone said the monetary gift is especially helpful given the state’s current financial situation. Cheshire lost about $1.5 million in state aid this year and he expects to lose more.
“Things that we’re able to do with the gift account money that Elim Park gives us year after year would not be possible through our general fund budget,” Milone said. “I just want to thank you so very much because I can’t tell you how important and critical this has been to our existence and the jobs we have to do everyday.”