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Yankee Candle donates to Deerfield, Whately public safety departments, gives scholarships to Frontier Regional graduates 

In Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle with Santa Claus chuckling and the Deerfield Elementary School chorus caroling, Yankee awarded $8,000 to the public safety departments in Deerfield and Whately and another $20,000 in scholarships to 16 Frontier Regional High School graduates.

Since 1990, Yankee has donated a gift to the public safety departments in its host towns at Christmas. In 22 years, Yankee Candle has donated more than $250,000 to the local ambulance, fire and police departments in Deerfield and Whately, its host communities.

In addition, Yankee Candle awards scholarships to former Frontier Regional High School students.

Yankee Candle awards scholarships based on students’ grade point average, volunteer work and extracurricular activities. Students each receive $1,250.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Harlan Kent, CEO of Yankee Candle. “We wouldn’t be what we are without Deerfield and Whately. We have a passion for being a good neighbor and we’re proud of being in the Pioneer Valley.”

The annual town gifts began when the Kittridge family owned the company. At that time, the South Deerfield Fire Department needed equipment it could not afford and founder Michael Kittridge donated money to the department.

“Ever since, we recognize its important to help our local communities,” Kent said.

This year, Yankee Candle doled out $8,000 to Deerfield Emergency Management Services, Deerfield Police, Whately Ambulance and the Whately Police Department. Each department received $2,000.

The South Deerfield Fire Chief William Swasey also works for Yankee. Over the years, he’s collaborated behind the scenes with local safety officials on behalf of Yankee to determine equipment needs.

“As a member of the South Deerfield Fire Department for the past 22 years, I can speak first hand on how the public safety agencies have benefited from these gifts,” Swasey said.

The gifts received have enabled local public safety departments to operate more effective and efficiently, Swasey said.

“With cuts in funding from the town and grants, there is not enough money available. A gift like this helps tremendously,” said Whately Police Chief James Sevigne Jr.

Each department will use the money to buy equipment.

The Whately Police Department intends to use its money to extend the “Officer Down” training program to its police officers and first responders. The department will also put together trauma kits for each of its 10 officers and two cruisers.

“We went to this training a few months back,” said Sevigne. “It was a great training. We wanted to bring it back to our department.”

In addition, Whately Ambulance will use its funds toward the purchase of a battery powered hydraulic stretcher that easily raises and lowers a patient.

It is estimated that one out of every 10 EMS personnel is out of work due to a back injury from lifting patients.

“We’re trying to avoid injuries,” EMS Director Gary Stone said.

According to Stone, the hydraulic stretcher costs $13,000 and is out of the department’s budget range. The money will help decrease the cost to the town.

Deerfield EMS plans to use the money to buy two pieces of medical equipment — an oxygen delivery system and a pulse oximeter. The oxygen delivery system ensures a patient has an ample supply of oxygen. A pulse oximeter allows EMTs to instantly check whether a patient is filtering carbon dioxide out of their system and replacing it with oxygen. It allows medics to assess a patient’s current condition and supply additional oxygen as needed.

The Deerfield Police Department will use its award to upgrade its internal computer system, an initiative proposed by Chief John Paciorek Jr. These upgrades will allow the officers to have the latest software to work more efficiently.

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