‘A wonderful silver lining’: Volunteers restore vandalized field for Trumbull-based Make-A-Wish CT

Photo of Amanda Cuda

TRUMBULL — Jeffrey Kunkel didn’t want the people at Make-A-Wish Connecticut to spend a dime of their money repairing a sports field that was torn up by vandals a few weeks ago.

“There’s no reason that any of their money should go to anything other than children who are sick,” said Kunkel, CEO of Trumbull Helps, an organization that provides a variety of assistance across the region.

So, on Saturday, Kunkel, along with roughly 50 other volunteers, showed up at the Make-A-Wish property with topsoil, grass seed, rakes, shovels and other tools, eager and willing to repair the damage. Those in attendance included members of the Nichols Fire Department and the Trumbull Volunteer Fire Company.

After a little work, Kunkel said, “the field is good. People really stepped up.”

According to Make-A-Wish Connecticut officials and Trumbull police, some time between the evening of Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13, someone drove over the field, leaving large tire tracks throughout. On Monday, Trumbull police public information officer Brian Weir said there have been no leads on the case.

“There was not really much information provided to the Trumbull police during the report of this vandalism,” Weir said. “There was a police report made upon discovery of the damage. However, there was no suspect vehicle, or person information provided. There have been no vehicle/person suspects determined, and no further leads developed as of this time.”

The efforts of the community to repair the field were inspiring, said Carin Buckman, Make-A-Wish Connecticut’s marketing, communications and digital manager.

“Make-A-Wish Connecticut is heartened and so grateful for community effort and support,” Buckman said. “Having our neighbors rally on our behalf was a wonderful silver lining.”

She said, in addition to the fire departments, those who turned up included children the organization has helped and their families, plus some local politicians. Fairfield-based Becker Companies, LLC also donated soil for the project.

Kunkel said, in addition to helping Make-A-Wish, Trumbull Helps also assisted another organization Saturday. With the volunteers finishing their work sooner than expected, there were “tons” of leftover pizza that he had ordered for lunch for the workers.

The uneaten pizza was donated to Spooner House in Shelton, Kunkel said.