Sometimes in a town, there are people who go above and beyond for their neighbors. In Somers, one of these people is Michael Freedman.
Freedman is famous for putting together amazing chili cook offs, but that’s not the only thing he’s good at. While he’s cooking up some chili, he’s also touching the lives of those he is helping.
Since 2006, there has been an annual New England Regional Chili Cook Off in Somers, and in the first five years, the event and seven tons of canned goods — which go to in Somers. This year alone, the event raised $19,500.
“It’s an opportunity for my wife and I to help our community, the town that we live in that we love, and help our ,” he said before this year's event. “We also help the larger community by helping the Patriot Guard Riders.”
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These organizations are grateful for Freedman’s efforts.
“We are blessed to have Mike and (his wife) Kat in our corner,” said Keith Burger, president of Somers Fire. “They have been major supporters of the fire department and their Chili Cook Off event has raised considerable dollars for us in these very challenging financial times. We have purchased some much needed equipment and training supplies that we could otherwise not afford. They alone are responsible for bringing our training and town awareness of our services to a new level. We are honored to count them among our friends!”
In January, Freedman also put together a , the Ellington Marine who was injured in an . While the time frame from the conception of the idea to the day of the event was short, it was a hit and it raised a lot of money for the Marine.
“Upon meeting Mike and his wife, I felt like we had known them for years, as they were so warm and welcoming,” said Doreen Caron, Greg's mother. “Chili Mike did an awesome job with organizing and putting together a chili event for Greg, which was very much appreciated. Mike and Kat are involved in many chili fundraisers, donating time and energy for others. We are very grateful for their service, and they are the most two caring and compassionate people I have met.”
Freedman has also caught the eye of those in office, with State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi applauding his efforts.
“Michael is a powerhouse for good,” she said. “He and his wife work tirelessly to bring charitable events to town, and their fantastic passion and attitude is seen by all. I always look forward to an event that they are involved in, and I am never disappointed. Mike can move mountains.”
Friend Christopher “Tank” Annino says that Freedman is someone who cares about his fellow man.
“It doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from, he always sees the good in everyone,” he said.
Freedman has been credited by friends with helping people with their demons, just by talking with them and taking some time with them.
“We didn’t know each other very long, but he has a keen sense for the human spirit and helping those who are in need,” said friend Rescue Nineleven. “I am honored to be his fellow brother in the Patriot Guard and I am honored to be his friend.”
Freedman never wants any credit for what he has done, but for the people that he has helped, they definitely appreciate his efforts.