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Avon Public Safety Foundation Supports First Responders

Writer / Jamie Hergott
Photography Provided

Avon Public Safety FoundationSometimes the people who offer the community the most support need support themselves. The Avon Public Safety Foundation (APSF) provides that support. This nonprofit foundation provides financial support and resources to first responders in Avon and Washington Township.

Emily Perry, the APSF board president, says the police and fire departments often have special needs that the Town of Avon budget does not cover, and since these departments are public entities, they cannot receive donations from the community.

“The foundation allows us to accept donations so that we can meet some of those needs that our first responders have,” Perry says.

Perry is particularly passionate about supporting first responders. She works with them daily in her position as executive director of Susie’s Place, a child advocacy center that works to prevent and respond to reports of crimes against children. The APSF was started in 2015, and Perry jumped on board in 2016.

“The original idea came from a small group in the community who were key stakeholders,” Perry says. “They wanted to create opportunity to provide support to first responders, making it easier for them to access resources for special projects, apply for grants, and things like that.”

The APSF is proud to donate approximately $10,000 per year to local law enforcement and fire departments, depending on individual needs.

One of the special projects APSF supports is National Night Out, an annual community-building event meant to promote the partnership between the community and police. The APSF provides behind-the-scenes support for the event. They also sell T-shirts every year with a specific design for each event.

The APSF also supports the Avon Police Department’s K-9 unit.

“We have a relationship with Speck’s where we maintain an account there, and pay for officers to go in for food, snacks, meds or whatever they need for their K-9s,” Perry says.

Perry particularly loves supporting the K-9s because the community has a great deal of interest in them.

“We love supporting the needs of the animals and their handlers,” Perry says. “Incorporating animals into law enforcement has gained so much traction in the past couple years that we’re so excited to support that program.”

The APSF has also helped fund an awards lunch and recognition ceremony for the Washington Township/Avon Fire Department, and helped to support the Explorers Program for the Police Department, a program that helps youth learn about law enforcement.

Avon Public Safety Foundation

These are just a few examples of how the APSF supports local first responders. The organization itself is completely run by volunteers. Perry, who manages 27 employees at Susie’s Place, says the APSF is run very differently.

“No one is compensated, and no one receives a salary,” Perry says. “The scope of what we can do is dramatically different, but everyone on the board is truly committed. We recognize the challenge it is to be a first responder right now for a host of reasons. It was hard in 2015 but it has become increasingly challenging to stay in these fields.”

Because of this, the APSF even supports areas of self-care, paying for wellness programs and gym memberships so that first responders can care for themselves physically and mentally.

“It’s the little things too that make a difference,” Perry says. “We want them to know how much we appreciate them.”

Brian Nugent, deputy chief of the Avon Police Department, is deeply appreciative for the support of the APSF.

“The support from the APSF is quite profound,” Nugent says. “The fact that we have an organization of volunteers who work tirelessly to support our officers speaks volumes for the character of our community. Despite a political and social climate of divisiveness and resentment, the APSF continues to send the message to our officers that they are indeed supported by the community that they serve.”

Perry feels particularly grateful to be able to offer the support of the APSF because of how much she relies on first responders at Susie’s Place. They have been there when families needed them to support children in tragic circumstances.

Avon Public Safety Foundation

“They’ve consistently been here in our time of need, when we need an emergent response in situations we are facing,” Perry says. “I can say thank you in a lot of ways, but showing up with this and paying it forward helps me show them how much I appreciate them.”

The APSF is always looking for additional donations, volunteers and even board members.

“The more people we have, the more presence we can have in the community and the more consistently we can meet needs of first responders,” Perry adds. “As their needs grow, we want to grow to meet that.”

For more information, visit avongov.org.

Avon Public Safety Foundation

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