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Tolland Connecticut Fire Fighters IAFF Local 3954

"Dollars For Defibrillators"
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Tolland PTO’s ‘Dollars for Defibrillators’ takes Valentine’s Day to heart

By C. L. Kelly The Reminder

TOLLAND — What could be a more fitting way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to help secure heart-saving equipment for the community?
   In appreciation of the Tolland Fire Department’s service to the town, the Tolland Elementary Schools’ Parents and Teachers Organization will be collecting donations on Feb. 14 as part of their campaign called “Dollars for Defibrillators.”
   According to the American Council for Exercise, the use of defibrillators by emergency first-responders helps to increase survival rates from cardiac arrest, stroke and other cardiovascular emergencies. The Tolland fundraising campaign will specifically be for providing AEDs, or Automated External Defibrillators, to the schools of Tolland. Donations will be collected at Parker Memorial and Birch Grove.
   “The fire department does so much for our schools, and so we wanted to do something for them,” explained Laura Krementowski, president of the PTO. “The town has grown immensely in the last 10 years, and no matter what we need them for, the Tolland Fire Department has been more than gracious and helpful.”
   The schools will also benefit, because both Parker Elementary and Birch Grove hope to realize the placement of an AED life-saving device in each of their buildings. The typical cost for an AED is between $1,800 and $2,000.
   Krementowski said that the fire department has been instrumental in running various programs for the schools, including the annual Cider Mill 5-K and Family Fun Run, the Basic Aid Training for fourth-graders and the smoke house trailer that visits schools to educate children about responses to a fire.
   The Tolland PTO annually raises approximately over $51,000, Krementowski said, which supports enrichment opportunities for more than 1,500 children. A recent fundraiser realized generous book donations from Birch Grove and Parker Elementary Schools, totaling more than 3,700 books, for the Sweeney School in Windham. “Every one of the 350 students at Sweeney School were able to take two books home for holiday reading,” said Krementowski.
   The PTO does not rest during the summers either. Last summer, boxes of supplies were sent to Iraq. The boxes included basic necessities like personal hygiene items, food, books, card games, sunscreen and toothpaste. Also, 25 backpacks filled with school supplies were collected last June and were brought to the East Hartford Veterans of Foreign Wars, for shipment to Hurricane Katrina victims. “A lot of the kids wrote cards, too, which were included in the donations,” Krementowski said. “We’re trying to instill a sense of community spirit. A lot of children need to realize that other people are less fortunate than us, and that helps them to understand and helps them to be more compassionate.”