The Exchange Club of Ridgefield, a community service group, has been hosting an Appreciation Day for the Ridgefield Police (spring) and Fire Dept (fall) for several years at the Leir Retreat Center. However, in 2020, these great events had to be canceled due to Covid-19 regulations. To fill that void, the club wanted to send out emails to Ridgefield residents asking that, if appropriate, they affirm their appreciation and send in any personal comments they may have on that topic.
Ridgefield's email responses were extremely positive about Ridgefield's Police/Fire/EMS with many personal accounts of their professional, friendly, kind service and notes about the many times these first responders coming to their aid in times of personal crisis.
The two photos below show Nick Percival, President of the local chapter of the Exchange Club, handing the compiled results of the email responses to the chiefs of the Police and Fire/EMS - with everyone following Covid-19 protocol. The photo directly below, in front of Police HQ, shows Left to Right: Captain Bryan Terzian, Lieutenant Jeff Smith, Nick Percival, Chief Jeff Kreitz, Major Steve Brown. The 2nd photo, at the Fire House, shows Left to Right: Nick Percival, Chief Jerry Myers, Firefighter/Paramedic Ricky Juan.
Even if you have not been carried out of a burning building by a Ridgefield Firefighter, there is much to appreciate about this group of first responders. They continue to be there for you in times of crisis and they work hard to prevent crises. And, a couple of years ago, a formal evaluation of towns in the USA based on specific criteria (e.g., crime rate) named Ridgefield as the Safest Town In America - something we all benefit from!
Besides the above-mentioned "appreciation void" in 2020, the club felt a show of appreciation was needed as 2020 has been a year of anger directed at police nationwide. This included many "headlines" that were a police PR nightmare. Large protests, a "Defund the Police" movement, violent attacks on police, even ambushes and killings that even spilled over against firefighters, including their Emergency Medical Service (EMS) units as they responded to fires and medical emergencies caused by some protests.
While the local Police/Fire/EMS have NOT been a direct cause of the anger or a target of the anger, it still must be very demoralizing for those public servants to experience this negative atmosphere. So a show of appreciation for these dedicated men and women who provide great service to Ridgefield without seeking fame or fortune - including our dedicated Volunteer Firefighters - is well deserved! Brian Armstrong of the RTC also deserves great thanks for jumping in and making a great effort to get the word out about this appreciation effort for Police/Fire/EMS.
The Exchange Club of Ridgefield is the local chapter of the National Exchange Club (founded in 1917). The national goal is the Prevention of Child Abuse and it also has several, well-defined, community programs. The club convenes for seven dinner meetings each year at Bernard's restaurant (via Zoom during Covid-19) for community service planning, friendship, fellowship, and enlightenment by way of speakers from local organizations.
Since this is being posted at the end of 2020, the club sends best wishes to the entire community for a very healthy, happy and successful New Year!