The Darien Summer Nights concert series has become one of the more popular events in town. Families show up with chairs and blankets, ready to enjoy food trucks and the music of the Spadtastics. Local developer David Genovese recalls the early times of the Summer Nights series, with the goal being to give families a way to escape and enjoy evenings out here locally in the wake of the financially crisis in the late 2000s. The evening took a special meaning, however, on Friday September 7. Freddie Tuccinardi and his mother were the beneficiaries of the Friends of Freddie, who have been working for weeks to raise money to update the Tuccinardi home.

Freddie Tuccinardi has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. He lives with his mother, but their home is in need of a number of updates to make it handicap accessible. Now in her 70s, Freddie’s mother still carries her son up to his second story bedroom every night. In addition, Freddie needs a great deal of physical therapy and treatment that is not always covered by health insurance.

The event itself could not have gone better. While families arrived at Tilley Park, a donation station was set up to take donations of any size in cash, check, or credit card. As the warm up band ended, Dan Anderson, one of the organizations, got up to speak along with David Genovese and Freddie himself. Genovese thanked the audience for coming and for their support, and for the Spadtastics for providing entertainment.

As Anderson was beginning, Freddie asked to have the microphone for a moment, saying to the crowd, “thank you everyone for coming. My Mom and I really need this, so thank you so much for the support.”

Anderson recalled getting an email from Barbara Andrianus, saying “the message was really just that Freddie and his mom could use some help.”

Then Anderson spoke a bit about Freddie, saying, “Freddie’s been a good friend to all of us. I got to know him through the Darien fire department and he’s taught so many people so much about life and how good life can be. He’s very smart and he’s got a wonderful sense of humor. If you ever need to laugh, just come over to Freddie and he’ll have you laughing.”

Once again Freddie took the mic and said, “Likewise to you Dan, thank you for all your help.”

Anderson and the rest of the Friends of Freddie used the phrase “it takes a village” a number of times when speaking about how to best help Freddie. As he finished speaking to the crowd, Anderson said, “Freddie, here’s your village.”

To walk through the the crowd was the hear just how many people knew Freddie. Old high school friends recalled their times at DHS. Athlete’s remember him managing or being part of their sports team. It was easy to get the impression that Freddie has simply been everywhere and touched everyone in Darien, and that this night of fundraising could not happen for a better person.

In just over two weeks of work, Friends of Freddie has raised over $60,000 to make the home more accessible and pay for some of Freddie’s therapy.

In a letter to the Darien Times, the Friends of Freddie thanked the community and a number of volunteers for their time and support in making the fundraiser happened, and state that it is still possible to donate via the Friends of Freddie GoFundMe page. Contributions go through the Darien Lion’s Club, a 501(c)3 charity organization.