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    A 70-year-old employee for the town of Greenwich was arrested on Friday morning, accused of getting into a fight with a coworker and threatening the man with a machete, according to Greenwich Police.

    Police responded to Byram Park just before 9:30 a.m. on July 18 to investigate a possible assault involving two employees at a town maintenance shed and witnesses said Basil Passerelli, 70, of Greenwich, had gotten into a victim with a coworker.

    According to witnesses, Passerelli pushed the victim’s chest, put his hands on the victim’s throat and swung a machete in the victim’s direction. 

    Passerelli was charged with third-degree assault, second-degree strangulation, second-degree breach of peace, brandishing a dangerous weapon and second-degree threatening.

    He was released on a $500 cash and bond. He is due in Stamford Superior Court on July 25.
     



    Photo Credit: AP

    A 70-year-old employee for the town of Greenwich was arrested on Friday morning, accused of getting into a fight with a coworker and threatening the man with a machete, according to Greenwich Police.A 70-year-old employee for the town of Greenwich was arrested on Friday morning, accused of getting into a fight with a coworker and threatening the man with a machete, according to Greenwich Police.

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    A Glastonbury man who was stopped very early Friday morning because his headlights were off admitted to police that he had been drinking while driving from Cincinnati, Ohio, to his home in Glastonbury, police said.

    The entire trip is more than 750 miles, according to Mapquest.

    Police stopped Sean Whitmore Hickey, 25, just before 2:30 a.m. on Friday after seeing a car with no headlights heading southbound on Main Street, police said.

    Hickey was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol/drugs, drinking while driving, failure to have headlamps illuminated and operating an unregistered vehicle.

    Bond was set at $2,500. He was released and is due in court in Manchester on August 4.
     



    Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police

    Police said Sean Whitmore Hickey, 25, admitted to drinking while driving more than 700 miles from Ohio to Glastonbury.Police said Sean Whitmore Hickey, 25, admitted to drinking while driving more than 700 miles from Ohio to Glastonbury.

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    A man trying to move a turtle from a roadway in Hamden was attacked and seriously injured by a dog last week.

    The 54-year-old victim was driving along Evergreen Avenue near Whitney Avenue on July 15 when he noticed the turtle in the road, according to police.

    He got out of his car and tried to pick up the turtle and move it to the side of the road when the dog attacked him, police said.

    The man suffered serious bite wounds to his leg and forearm and was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

    Hamden police are trying to locate the dog, which is described as a black-colored, long-haired Labrador, according to police. The dog was wearing a collar.

    Anyone with information on the dog is asked to call Hamden Animal Control Division at 203-230-4075 or 203-230-4080.


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    Seventeen cars at Westbrook Honda were damaged over the weekend and state police are investigating.

    Police said the damage was done at 1 Flat Rock Place in Westbrook between 6 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. on Monday.

    Back driver side or passenger side windows were broken on all 17 cars and the air bags on the steering wheels were removed.

    Police are investigating.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Seventeen cars at Westbrook Honda were damaged over the weekend and state police are investigating.Seventeen cars at Westbrook Honda were damaged over the weekend and state police are investigating.

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    The man accused of scamming elderly homeowners in Bristol appeared in court on Monday.

    Brian Curylo, of Hot Top Paving, was arraigned in Bristol Superior Court on charges of larceny, violating a home improvement contract, and other offenses.

    Curylo was arrested earlier this month while trying to do work without a license on Geary Avenue in Bristol, according to police. The arrest came weeks after police issued a warning to residents about Curylo. He is accused of going door to door targeting elderly people, taking money for work he never does, according to Bristol police.

    After his court appearance, Curylo did not comment on the charges.

    Court records show Curylo has a lengthy record with prior convictions for larceny, breach of peace, and other crimes.

    The Department of Consumer Protection said Curylo has scammed people out of tens of thousands of dollars.

    He is out on a $5,000 bond and is due back in court August 11.


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    A 58-year-old woman was hit and killed by an SUV in Stamford on Monday.

    Janice Pielert, of Stamford, was walking in the crosswalk on Summer Street at Hoyt Street when she hit by a Chevy Tahoe around 12:45 p.m., according to police.

    The driver of the SUV was making a left turn off of Summer Street and hit Pielert, police said. Pielert became trapped under the Tahoe and had to be extricated.

    She was taken to Stamford Hospital where she died, police said.

    Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to call Stamford Officers Hugh Mullin or Ryan McAllister at 203-977-4712.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    It is the end of an era for the iconic convenience store chain. Media, Pennsylvania-based Wawa is closing its very first location after 50 years in business.

    "Store #1," located at MacDade Boulevard and Swarthmore Avenue in Folsom, Delaware County, will shut its doors in spring 2016. Around the same time, the company plans to open a new state-of-the-art location about a half-mile away.

    "It is emotional yet exciting for all of us," said Lori Bruce, Wawa spokeswoman.

    The newly constructed store will open at MacDade Boulevard and Kedron Avenue in the spring of next year, Bruce said.  Current employees will not be affected by the change, she added.

    "With the same Wawa associates and customer connections traveling to this new store," Bruce said, "for us this will still be store number 1."

    As many as 60 people will work at the new store, double the number of workers staffing the older locations.

    Wawa -- a Native American word for the Canada goose once found in the Delaware Valley -- is symbolized by the store's logo of the bird in flight.

    In the Philadelphia area, the chain has achieved cult status and draws in hordes of people hungry for their classic hoagies.

    The well-known and well-liked convenience store got its start in 1964 as an outlet for dairy products. Today Wawa has more than 645 locations in six different states, including New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida, according to its website.


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    With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Jerry Brown made it legal for some California college students under the age of 21 to taste alcohol in class.

    While that sounds like many students’ dream come true, the law, AB 1989, applies only under very specific circumstances.

    First, the students have to be enrolled in an accredited winemaking or beer-brewing course. Second, the taste can only be a taste, so students can’t actually swallow the drink.

    The latter provision earned the bill the moniker the "sip-and-spit" bill as it moved through the legislature.

    With the governor’s signature, California joins 12 other states, including New York and Oregon, to legalize underage alcohol tasting for educational purposes.

    The University of California, Davis, which is renowned for its viniculture and brewery program, was a major supporter of the legislation.

    Andrew Waterhouse, a professor in department of viticulture and enology at UC Davis, said the bill allows his students to taste wine while its getting made, a critical skill for those learning how to craft fine wines.

    "It’s an experience they can’t really get any other way," said Waterhouse, who testified in support of the bill. "And it’s much better if they do it in an educational setting where they can ask a lot of questions."

    Tara Pattison, 19, who studies brewing science at UC Davis, said she is happy that the law is finally on the books. 

    "You are learning about the process in theory, but when it comes to actually doing it, it’s not as simple as the books make it look," Pattison said. "If you cannot test the final products you will never know what mistakes you have made or, in a perfect world, didn’t make."



    Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

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    Maryland parents John and Janice Land are accused of locking their 22-year-old sons with autism inside a basement room of their Rockville home for six years.

    According to documents obtained by NBC Washington, Montgomery County police uncovered a room in the basement locked by a deadbolt when they were executing an unrelated search warrant at the Lands' home on Crawford Drive last Thursday.

    Inside, officers found twin brothers Darnell and Derrick Land living in a urine-smelling "bedroom" with no furniture, little light and a single comforter on the floor. 

    Police said Janice and John Land told them their sons are non-verbal and require constant attention.

    According to a probable cause document, John said one of his sons had previously caused some water damage to the home, and to prevent it from happening again, he admitted to installing a deadbolt and padlock on the outside of the bedroom with the "sole intention" of locking his sons in the basement room.

    John told officers he would lock his sons inside the room around 10 p.m. and would come back just before 5 a.m. to "let them out." According to the document, John said his wife, along with others, had also locked the twins in the room in the past.

    Documents said when investigators asked John how he and his wife would communicate with their sons if something went wrong or they needed something, John said his sons would "eventually make enough noise that he would hear them and go see what was wrong."

    He said there was no furniture in his sons' bedroom because they had soiled it the week before police arrived, and they had the furniture removed.

    According to the documents, Janice Land told officers she had no knowledge of her sons being locked in the room for six years despite being one of their primary caretakers and sharing a home with them.

    “If someone locked them in the room, I didn’t know about it," she told investigators. 

    A neighbor, Sharon Drennan, told NBC Washington she heard about the twins being locked in the basement three years ago.

    "I reported it to the authorities, and nothing's ever been done. [Those] children stayed in there three years longer? That's sad. I can't believe it's come to this," Drennan said. 

    Officers said there was a small window in the room, but not large enough to allow the two to escape had there been an emergency. According to the document, John told police he was aware of this problem.

    John and Janice Land are facing two counts each of false imprisonment and two counts each of vulnerable adult abuse of a family member. 


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    A Southern California man accused of trying to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, with a fake passport so he could allegedly join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, rebels pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges.

    Adam Dandach, 20, of Orange, remained in custody without bail and is expected in federal court in Santa Ana on Aug. 25.

    Dandach was arrested by FBI agents assigned to the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force on July 3. He sought to leave on a flight out of John Wayne Airport in Irvine.

    According to federal court documents, he told investigators that "he was traveling to Syria for the purpose of pledging his allegiance to ISIS, a known terrorist organization, that he would assist ISIS with anything that ISIS asked him to do, and that he believed the killings of U.S. soldiers are justified killings."

    ISIS is the al-Qaida splinter group leading Sunni militants in Iraq.

    Dandach had applied for an expedited replacement passport in June, explaining in the application that he had accidentally thrown the original in the trash while cleaning.

    Authorities said his mother actually hid the original passport in a closet to stop him from flying to the Middle East in December.

    Dandach's attorney, Cuauhtemoc Ortega of the Federal Public Defender's Office, as well as Dandach's family members declined comment to NBC4 after Monday's hearing.

    Jason Kandel contributed to this report.


    Adam Dandach, 20, who is accused of trying to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, with a fake passport so he could allegedly join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, rebels, pleaded not guilty Monday, July 21, 2014, to federal charges.Adam Dandach, 20, who is accused of trying to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, with a fake passport so he could allegedly join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, rebels, pleaded not guilty Monday, July 21, 2014, to federal charges.

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    A Hartford mother who is accused of leaving her 4-year-old daughter at home alone overnight was arrested over the weekend and the little girl told police that was not the first time is happened.

    Hartford Police said the girl’s mother, Ronisha Woodard, left the 4-year-old home alone on Friday night.

    On Saturday morning, Gwendolyn Rowse noticed the girl standing outside her home and crying for help.

    “My heart went out to that baby. …. I was watching it,” Rowser said. “We were afraid at first something happened to the mother."

    Rose Johnson said she was on her porch when a neighbor brought the little girl over, asked if anyone knew her, and then called authorities.

    “She was thirsty and hungry that's what she said,” Johnson said.

    When officers arrived and found the child, she told them she was left alone, and that this wasn’t the first time Woodard had done this, police said.

    Detectives reached Woodward by phone and she claimed she was in New Haven and planned to come back to Hartford, police said.

    Woodard was arrested, charged with risk of injury to a chile and first-degree reckless endangerment and posted bond.

    Woodard returned home with a state worker on Monday night and did not answer any of NBC Connecticut’s questions.

    Woodard’s child is in DCF custody.

    “It’s just really weird because she's a good mom,” Alice Vaught said.

    Hartford Police said the child was checked out at the hospital and she’s in good condition.

    Woodard is due in court on August 13.


    Ronisha WoodwardRonisha Woodward

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    Police say they’ve charged a 48-year-old man in the strangling deaths of two women whose naked bodies were found in the woods on Long Island more than 20 years ago after detectives linked his DNA to the decades-old crime scenes.

    John Bittrolff was arrested at his home in Manorville early Monday on two counts of second-degree murder, Suffolk County police say.

    He’s charged in the deaths of 31-year-old Rita Tangredi and 20-year-old Colleen McNamee, whose bodies were found naked in the woods in Suffolk County in the early 1990s. Both women had been beaten and strangled to death, police say.

    Tangredi, who had no known address when she died, was discovered in the woods near Esplanade Drive in East Patchogue on Nov. 2, 1993. McNamee was from Holbrook and was found in the woods near William Floyd Parkway in Shirley on Jan. 30, 1994.

    Police say that detectives originally assigned to the cases collected DNA evidence that connected the killings, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that investigators linked the samples to a suspect. 

    Police called Monday’s arrest significant and said that Bittrolff could be connected to other deaths on Long Island dating back to the 1990s.

    Bittrolff is in police custody and will be arraigned Tuesday. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.

    Police are asking anyone with information about Bittrolff’s activities in the early 1990s to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.


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    State Sen. Andrew Maynard, 52, is at Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island to be treated for severe injuries suffered in a fall from an outside staircase at his home on Grandview Park in Stonington early Monday morning, according to police.

    Police responded to the home at 2:39 a.m. on Monday, and said Maynard fell from a significant height and suffered severe injuries.

    The initial investigation indicates that this was an accident, police said, but they are investigating.

    “Senator Maynard suffered an injury while at home over the weekend.  Family members are with him now, at an area hospital, and are caring for him. His family is asking for privacy while he convalesces,” a statement Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn) and Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) released on Monday.

    Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman also released a statement.

    “Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy and his loved ones. Working with him has been an honor and a privilege.  He is a powerful voice for his district and for the issues he cares about.  We join the rest of our colleagues in wishing him a full and fast recovery,” they said in an e-mailed statement.

    Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney and Sen. Minority Leader Pro Tempore Len Fasano also released a statement.

    “The thoughts and prayers of the entire Connecticut State Senate Republican caucus go out to Senator Maynard and his family.  We wish Sen. Maynard a swift recovery,” the statement says.


     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Connecticut State Senate Democrats

    Senator Andrew Maynard was badly injured in a fall.Senator Andrew Maynard was badly injured in a fall.

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    An Australian cruise ship traveling around the world will make a stop in New London, Connecticut on Tuesday morning.

    The Dawn Princess, sailing rom Sydney, carries 2,000 passengers and more than 900 crew members. 

    Connecticut's Cruise Ship Task Force, working to bring more ships to New London, organized the visit to give passengers an opportunity to tour New London.


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    Five families have been displaced after a fire broke out at a Hartford apartment building early Tuesday morning.

    The blaze started at about 2 a.m. and spread to six apartment units at 356 Wethersfield Avenue, according to the Hartford Fire Department. Firefighters put the flames out by 3:46 a.m.

    Everyone made it out safely and no one was injured.

    Firefighters told residents of the building that the fire seems to have started on the third floor, the daughter of one of the people displaced told NBC Connecticut. It quickly spread throughout the building. Residents have been put up at a local motel for the time being, she said.

    The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and the Hartford Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.

     

    More information will be provided when it becomes available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Five families have been displaced after a fire broke out at a Hartford apartment building early Tuesday morning.Five families have been displaced after a fire broke out at a Hartford apartment building early Tuesday morning.

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    Those living in the Town Plot neighborhood of Waterbury are standing their ground and demanding that the city tell Verizon Wireless to take a hike.

    Opponents gathered outside the Masonic Lodge on Highland Avenue Tuesday to protest the company's proposal to place a cell site inside.

    "All the neighbors are 100 percent against it," said resident Arthur Denze, Sr.

    Chris Martinelli, a member of the Masonic Lodge, says Verizon offered them $26,000 per year for a 20-year contract to rent the space.

    Protestors call it greed, but Martinelli says the money will go toward projects like the Children's Dyslexia Center of Connecticut, which teaches dyslexic children how to read, free of charge.

    "And the monies can go back to more civic organizations into the community too," said Martinelli.

    While the equipment would be hidden, residents argue the presence of Verizon will still hurt their property value.

    "You think people are going to want to buy a house that's next to a cell antenna? I don't think so," said Denze.

    Neighbor Lisa Hosko worries about the safety of her two young children.

    "I'd rather not have it here," said Hosko. "I'm just nervous with the radiation."

    Verizon Wireless released a statement that said in part, "The facility will comply with the FCC standards and it conforms in all respects with zoning regulations. Ultimately this site would provide for a stronger network to support connected devices and services that customers rely on in Waterbury."

    Still, residents say they're not backing down.

    "This could happen anywhere in the city if we don't stop it here," said Denze.

    Residents and members of the Masonic Lodge are expected to be at City Hall for the Zoning Commission's public hearing regarding the proposal. It begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnectiuct.com

    Residents of Waterbury's Town Plot neighborhood protest the plan to build a cellphone tower at the Masonic Lodge on Highland Avenue.Residents of Waterbury's Town Plot neighborhood protest the plan to build a cellphone tower at the Masonic Lodge on Highland Avenue.

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    Thousands were in the dark for days after storms like Hurricane Sandy and the October Nor'Easter in 2011.

    The power companies took a lot of flak for them and now years later those companies have gotten another bad review

    In the latest J-D Power and Associates rankings both Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating scored near the bottom in terms of customer satisfaction. But most customers NBC Connecticut spoke with have different views

    "There was like a tree at least that bigger that came down," said Barry Flynn who is referring to a tree that is no longer there because it was wiped away by Sandy. "When it came down, it took down the wires and the pole."

    Yet Flynn says he was pleased with UI's performance after the storm tore through Cora Street in Morris Cove--one he's called home for the last 30 years.

    "There was so much going on and then we lost power for 4, 5, 6 days or something," Flynn added. "It was quite reasonable."

    Yet Flynn is in the minority according to JD Power & Associates who rank CL&P and U-I near the bottom for residential customer satisfaction in their latest survey

    "I've never had any issues with UI," said Dave Julian of Milford. "Actually I've found them to be a bit cheaper. We moved here from Southington."

    Julian is a former CL&P customer, which JD Power ranks 13 out of 17 large utilities in the east region. Despite the news the power company says that's a 30 point improvement over last year.

    "We had the hurricane, we had the snowstorm, we had all kinds of things out here," said Ed Dinse of Guilford.

    U-I ranked 13 out of 15 mid-sized utilities in the east region. A company spokesperson says the state has struggled with things the survey looked at like price, rates and bills since deregulation in 2000

    "UI is more competitive," Julian added. "They're very easy to work with, pay everything online, haven't had any issues with them."

    Like others in Milford he was out power for five days when Sandy came through. Customers insist though U-I did what they could

    "Given the magnitude of everything they had to deal with, I felt very pleased with the kind of service we got," Flynn added.

    The results were also based on customer service and price

    Both CL&P and U-I say they're doing what they can to improve service.



    Photo Credit: clipart.com

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    A Connecticut firefighter showed up drunk at a multi-family apartment in Hartford while he was off duty Tuesday afternoon, police said.

    The resident told police she didn’t recognize Lamont Freeman, 44, when he entered her apartment at 160 Barbour Street at about 2:30 p.m. She explained that he was in the wrong apartment, but Freeman refused to leave, so the resident pushed him out the door and locked it, police said.

    According to the incident report, the woman told police Freeman was calling out a name she didn't recognize. Police said Freeman banged on the door and tried to get back in until officers arrived and detained him.

    Freeman does not live in the apartment and was not visiting anyone he knows, police said. He was arrested and charged with breach of peace and second-degree trespassing.

    The website for the city of Hartford lists Freeman as working out of Firehouse 7 on Clark Street, just around the corner from the location of the incident.

    Bond was set at $100 and Freeman was released on a promise to appear in court Thursday.

    The Hartford Fire Department declined to comment on Freeman's employment status.

    Freeman's son also declined to comment when NBC Connecticut knocked on the door of the firefighter's Enfield apartment Tuesday evening.

    Freeman is the second Hartford firefighter to be arrested in recent months.

    Doug Caldwell is accused of threatening a convenience store employee and punching the store countertop in March. Police said Caldwell had also been drinking beforehand.

    The Hartford Fire Department placed Caldwell on paid administrative leave and launched an internal investigation into the incident.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Hartford Police Department

    Hartford firefighter Lamont Freeman is facing charges after allegedly walking into a stranger's apartment while drunk and refusing to leave. Police said he was off duty at the time.Hartford firefighter Lamont Freeman is facing charges after allegedly walking into a stranger's apartment while drunk and refusing to leave. Police said he was off duty at the time.

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    A reported shooting in Hamden on Tuesday turned out to be another case of swatting and the homeowner thinks it might be retribution from someone who did not get access to his son’s Minecraft-online gaming server.

    Police Chief Thomas Wydra said they received a report that someone had been shot on Thomas Street and the shooter might be turning the gun on him or herself.

    Police responded and forced their way into the home.

    A teenage boy, his brother and another boy were in the house at the time, said Scott Butler, the homeowner. Police said the children were 9, 10 and 14 years old.

    Authorities couldn't locate a shooter and quickly realized that there had been no violence.

    Butler, the father of the teen and one of the boys, said he learned about what had happened when he received a call from Hamden police on his cellphone.

    They did not provide much information, Butler said, and he could not reach his teenage son by phone, so he raced home.

    Butler said the family has received threats before, including the threat of a pizza delivery, and the someone had the family's Internet service for a day.  However, he never thought things would get to this level.

    Police said the emergency call was a hoax. Authorities are investigating and detectives from the computer crimes unit will be working to determine who is responsible for the calls. 


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    When Ford Motor Company heard how a Manchester landscaper made a teenager with Down's syndrome smile with a simple ride in his Ford truck, a representative from Ford headquarters in Michigan wrote to him that the story sounded like something out of a country song "that makes you cry for all the right reasons."

    So when Tom Topping, 54, responded that he was a "Toby Keith kind of guy," Ford offered Topping, the boy, Kevin Fellows, 15, and his family tickets to see Toby Keith perform  at Xfinity Theatre in Hartford this weekend. Ray Seraphin Ford in Rockville Connecticut, where Topping got his 2012 Ford F-250, is also detailing his truck for free after learning of the story.

    The recognition is heartwarming, but ask Topping about his act of kindness and he'll tell you that his gesture wasn't much. For the Manchester Green Lawn Services owner, the special part of the story is really about Kevin and his moment in the truck, the "Big Red Monster," that made it feel like "Christmas in July."

    "I gave a kid a ride in a truck and you're supposed to make kids smile," he said.

    Kevin, a Coventry High School student, loves playing with trucks, cars and trains, often riding with his grandfather on his tractor in the past.

    "He was very excited," said his grandmother, Gail Zanlungo, who has taken care of him often over the past 13 years. "He loves anything like a tractor that moves."

    It all started when Topping was at Zanlungo's house in Manchester mowing her lawn on July 10. Zanlungo was Topping's first customer when he opened a year ago after a career in sales and he had never met her grandson, Kevin before. Kevin was visiting, going from window to window to watch Topping mow. He brought a lawn chair outside to sit and watch Topping continue in the backyard, a part of the house without windows.

    Topping waved to him and Kevin followed him to his Ford work truck when he was done. Topping let him press the button that activated the winch to load his mower into the truck. Kevin jumped up and down, Topping said. Though limited verbally, Kevin communicated with Topping through eye contact and body language. 

    As Topping was getting ready to go home for the day, Kevin opened the passenger door, hopped in and buckled the seat belt. Zanlungo and Kevin's sister, Hannah, 12, were outside at that point and told him to get out of the car, but Topping got the hint.

    "Let's take a ride," he told Kevin and with Zanlungo's permission he too Kevin and Hannah on a ride down Porter Street.

     The ride only lasted four minutes, but Topping said it was one of the highlights of his life, making him feel "blessed" and "lucky."

    "As I slowed for the stop sign, he grabbed my arm and hugged me, then laid his head against my arm. He looked up just as I looked down, and when our eyes met I saw Christmas in July. ... and I was Santa," Topping posted on Facebook, tagging Ford's Facebook page. "That, my friends, is a great day."

    Ford liked the story and shared, telling people to "read on if you want a smile today."

    Zanlungo said that Ford's reaction to the story is a testament to Kevin's personality.

    "He's such a wonderful little boy to everyone that he meets and I think that is a reflection of his upbringing," Zanlungo said.

    Topping said on Facebook that Kevin's smile changed his world and that he and Hannah will be riding with him in the "Big Red Monster" to the the Toby Keith concert thanks to Ford. Kevin's grandmother, mother, Jill, and cousin, Olivia are also going. Kevin and Hannah will ride with him in his red Ford truck. Topping said the gift is also a birthday celebration of sorts for him, as he turns 55 on July 29. Kevin enjoys listening to country music in his mom's jeep and his sister, Hannah is a Taylor Swift fan.

    "Thank you Ford Motor Company, for showing that "Built Ford Tough" is only on the outside and you have a warm spot in your heart," Topping wrote on Facebook.

    But the greatest gift to Topping is to do something special for Kevin and his family, who have "adopted" him into their lives. As someone without kids or nieces and nephews, the former U.S. Marine survival trainer appreciates how Kevin and Hannah have quickly filled that void. Hannah invited him to her birthday party on Sunday, so he gave Kevin another ride.

    Zanlungo is thankful to Topping and said that his generosity made this all possible.

    Xfinity Theatre is affiliated with Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC Connecticut. Ford F-Series trucks are a sponsor of Keith's tour.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

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