On Saturday, Oct. 15, the Sons of the American Legion Post 2 sponsored a benefit motorcycle ride to raise funds for the Connecticut State Police / American Legion “Youth Week.”
The State of Connecticut has ceased the funding of $25,000 a year toward this program that selects 30 to 50 students between the ages of 16 and 17 who are interested in obtaining a career in law enforcement. These students attend a week at the Connecticut State Police Academy and participate in events in which a normal candidate going thru the academy would perform. It teaches them the fundamentals and principles of law enforcement. It also builds a relationship with troopers and officers so that they have a support network to further their progress toward a career in law enforcement.
The program had run for 17 years before being cancelled this year due to the funding being cut.
“I am extremely disappointed in our leadership at the capital and I am saddened that the funding for this worthy program for our youth who are on a path toward a future in law enforcement was cut,” said Patrick M. Kilby – Commander of the Sons of the American Legion Post 2 in a press release. Kilby was selected and attended this program the first year it was offered along with only two other individuals in Bristol, one who is a Bristol Police officer currently. “I have learned that this program was cut only two months ago. Apparently investing in our youth is not a top priority according to our elected officials and state agency heads. In a day where it is much harder to be a law enforcement officer, this builds the foundation toward building a better group of law enforcement officers and hopefully with our help this program can be restored” said Patrick M. Kilby in the press release.
The benefit motorcycle ride was planned in only three weeks timeframe and spread verbally and through social media only, said the press release. About 50 people attended, which raised almost $1,000.
“I would like to thank everyone who attended including, Bristol Police, Cheshire Police, Hamden Police and Wolcott Police who all provided uniformed motorcycle units for the ride. The outpouring of local law enforcement officers was tremendous” said Senior Vice Commander Joe Nimchek who stepped up and assisted with the event, according to the press release. Participants rode from Bristol’s American Legion Post up to Litchfield and back to view the fall foliage. Pastor Dr. Jim Caron of Faith Bible Church from Plainville gave the blessing over the motorcycles before the group left. Once back at the American Legion volunteers cooked lunch for the participants while Adam Corriveau – junior vice commander– provided music.
“I am already committed to making this happen next year” said Kilby. “Everyone stated that they wanted to come back including all of the local police departments. It is refreshing to see these people who attended are committed toward bettering our future law enforcement officers.”