Town Times Requester



Brenda Eddy displays the badges earned by the Durham/Middlefield Exchange Club for their civic service. | (Diana Carr / Town Times)

Exchange Club is there for the community

Few people may know that when they are batting a ball around the tennis courts at Allyn Brook Park, in Durham, or their children are swinging from the playground equipment, or playing “Four Square” under the pavilion, that it is due in large part to funds raised by the Durham/Middlefield Exchange Club.

“We have 50 members from Durham and Middlefield,” said club President Brenda Eddy. “The Exchange Club is a national civic organization, and we’re a branch of it in Connecticut.”

The purpose of Exchange Clubs is to raise money for civic and charitable causes on the local, state, and national levels, with an emphasis on Americanism, the prevention of child abuse (the national project), the promotion of youth development, and responding to the needs of the community. Badges are given by the National Exchange Club for work in these categories.

Some of the Durham/Middlefield Exchange Club’s local projects are: handing out flags before the Memorial Day parade; giving the Proudly We Hail award to people who meet the criteria of properly flying their flag; the annual giving of the Book of Golden Deeds award to someone who gives a lot back to the community; honoring firefighters and police in both towns (who have gone above and beyond the call of duty) with the Salute to Connecticut’s Finest and Connecticut’s Bravest awards; the Adopt-A-Road project, which involves picking up litter off our streets; giving the ACE award to a high school senior who has surmounted extraordinary challenges, whether they be emotional, physical, or circumstantial; sponsorship of the Child Abuse Prevention Centers in Rockville and Stamford; and raising money for scholarships, fuel assistance, the Giving Trees in the town halls, the food banks, the District 13 music and athletic departments, and the Boy Scouts (Troop 27).

There are four major fundraisers a year: a spaghetti dinner in March at Coginchaug Regional High School (this year March 9); an Easter flower sale on Easter weekend, in front of Strong School; the Washington 10K race on Memorial Day (the money comes from the runners’ fees); and the French Fries booth at the Durham Fair. “Almost 90 percent of the money we raise from these events goes to the two towns,” Eddy said, “with the rest going toward the national goal of the prevention of child abuse.”

Meetings are on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m. at the Elks Club in Middletown. “We try to have interesting speakers that talk about things related to our mission,” Eddy said. “We welcome new members. The meetings are dinner meetings, and your first meal is on us.

“I’ve learned a lot about the other members. We’re all passionate about the group, and we have a great time together, with the common goal of giving back to the community.”

Wally Douglass, a longtime member agreed. “The money from our functions goes to kids who are in need-they are our main concern- and to senior citizens and to the community itself. It’s an honor to be a member of this group,” he said.

For more information about the Durham/Middlefield Exchange Club, contact Brenda Eddy at (860)349-0410.

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