SPRINGFIELD, NJ — In a major charitable gift to two of the first responder organizations in town, the Springfield-Hillside B.P.O.E. Lodge 2004 gave $1,000 in grants each to the Springfield Fire Department (SFD) and Springfield First Aid Squad (SFAS) this past weekend.

Representatives from the SFD and SFAS were on hand to receive the donations. The donations took place during a small cremony at the Elks lodge, as a way to thank organizations that have put themselves out on the front lines to help the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When talking about the grants from the Elks, SFD Captain Marc Corea and SFAS President Liz Fritzen both said the donations were welcomed by each of their respective organizations with open arms.

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"We're just so blessed to be part of the Springfield community," Corea said. "The Elks is always there for us. They always support us, and we're just so lucky to have them as part of the Springfield community. We're blessed that they're able to donate to us, and we can use it, especially in these times, to buy PPE and different things that we may need when dealing with the pandemic and other emergencies."

Fritzen echoed Corea with a similar response.

"It's very generous," Fritzen said. "[For] the Elks to present us with a $1000 check means so much, especially after what the squad's been through since the pandemic started back in March. The money that we've had to put out for supplies and keeping our personnel safe with PPE, this [donation] is just like a blessing to get a check like this today. We just can;t say enough, but thank you so much."

Lois Pagano, Elks National Foundation Chair for the district that includes the Springfield-Hillside Lodge said that procuring the donations for the SFD and SFAS was key for the organization, and something they were more than happy to do.

"It means a lot to me, especially being a representative of elks national foundation," Pagano said. "These gentlemen and ladies put themselves out on the line everyday during these trying times, and any little bit that we can give back, we want to give back to them. That's why we put in for these grants, just to help with any needs that the have during these trying times."

Following the ceremony for the SFD and SFAS, the lodge members confirmed a similar donation ceremony would take place for th Springfield Police Benevolent Association some time in the first week and change of November.