The Bridge held its annual Breakfast on the Bridge
on September 12 for nearly 150 school and social service professionals and community leaders from West Hartford. The breakfast is an opportunity for individuals who work with children and families in West Hartford to kick off a new year of collaboration.
Captain John Brice accepts the Build No Fences Award from Judy Bierly
The breakfast is also the venue for presenting the annual "Build No Fences Award" that was presented for the 25th year to an individual who works collaboratively to provide support for young people and families. The recipient this year was Captain John Brice, who has been with the West Hartford Fire Department since 1993. There are 5 fire stations in town and John is the Captain in charge of one of them, the Berkshire Road station.
Battalion Chief Richard Winn said, "John possesses both the physical and intellectual capacity needed to be not only a good firefighter, but a great leader. John's compassion for others is top notch. He is always willing to assist with a worthy cause."
John has assisted the Bridge with programs for kids since 1999. He has helped with the Bridge's annual Tune-In to Life week on many levels. He has secured sponsorships each year from the West Hartford Fire Fighters Association, Local 1241. The Bridge sponsors a poster project for 5th graders during Tune-In to Life that links with the schools' 5th grade health curriculum about making healthy choices. The poster guideline to the students is to draw a picture of something they love to do, a positive choice or choices they make as alternatives to drugs and alcohol. The posters are displayed around town.
As a thank you, the kids get a Tune-In to Life t-shirt. For many years, John has organized a few other firefighters and delivered the t-shirts to the 5th grade classrooms at each school. The firemen talk to the kids about their posters and offer their own reinforcement of the anti-drug message. John said, "For us, it's a treat to speak with the kids in a non-emergency setting. It's really positive to see how nice and enthusiastic they are, and how receptive to the anti-drug message they are."
The Bridge will hold its 14th annual gala, the Children's Charity Ball, in January. John has helped with that as well. He secures the fire engine ride to school for our auction and he and his wife have put together a fire safety basket to go along with it
At the breakfast, Bridge executive director Margaret Hann accepted a check for $1,837.33 from Wendy Kopp, the marketing manager for Panera Bread. When the West Hartford Panera Bread Café opened in 2006, the Bridge became its Operation Dough Nation partner. Panera customers make donations to Bridge canisters on the counter and Panera matches a percentage of them. As a result, Panera Bread and its customers have donated $66,495.56 to the Bridge.
John DeSimone, Mary Butler, Tom Hodson, Bridge board members.
Lt. Jeffrey Rose, W.H. police department, Rev Bob Hooper, St James's Church.
Martha Rennie, Bridge director of development, Trish Bowen, Bridge board member.
Pat Doherty,directory of youth and family services, Jeff Bersin, chair W.H. Substance Abuse Commission; Terry Schmitt, W.H. board of education.
A wonderful morning of catching up with the West Hartford community.
Penny Lightner, Beth Ryan, Rebecca Holmes, Gail Lowe.
Tracey Gove, W.H. police chief, Jim Capodiece, W.H. director of human and leisure services.
Chuck Hummel, school social worker, Eileen Howley, assistant superintendent, W.H. Schools.