Bob Chagnon (who recently retired from DATTCO) and his wife Elaine have been dedicated congregants of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Tariffville for 20 years. They serve as board members for nonprofit organizations focused on improving healthcare and education in Nigeria – Kateri Medical Services, Inc. (KMS), which started as a Trinity Episcopal Church ministry, and the Africa Education Partnership (AEP), which started as a ministry of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in South Windsor. Through these organizations, the couple has been to Nigeria a combined 16 times, developing strong relationships with Bishops of the Nigerian diocese. Together they build, renovate, and support medical clinics and schools.
In October of 2018, Bob and Elaine hosted Nigerian Bishop Markus Dogo and his wife, Nana, at their home. Bishop spoke about how stressful it was for parents of students within his diocesan schools to transport their children daily and how buses could ease this stress. The Bishop vowed to raise the money needed to purchase the buses, and Bob pledged to secure the buses through DATTCO. And so, this venture began.
After successful fundraising through AEP, the group raised enough money to ship the buses loaded with 20 barrels of supplies. There were nine barrels of school supplies, two barrels of medical supplies, five barrels of bibles for a seminary, and two barrels of spare bus parts. Also, two barrels were loaded with supplies for the family of Rev Nnaji, the Church’s contact at the New York port, who played the critical part in negotiating shipping costs for the buses and barrels. Thanks to Nnaji’s efforts, everything was shipped for only $7700; typically, the organization will pay $250 to ship ONE full barrel! As Bob stated, “God was most definitely steering this venture!”
Click here to see the fundraising plea made to the ministry. The organization raised a total of $9500, which allowed them to purchase bus parts at cost from DATTCO. (Which was a BONUS; not in the original plan!)
Extra “thanks” are extended to a group of dedicated DATTCO employees who helped make this happen: Don DeVivo, Steve Keith, Sandy LeBel, Mike Munson, and Bryan Miller (who got the ball rolling before his retirement). Most importantly, the drivers who graciously drove the buses from Bob’s Connecticut home to the Bronx, Paul Olszewski and Heather Baker.
“It takes an army! We cannot thank you enough for your prayers, encouragement, and support for this project. It promises to make a huge difference in the lives of children and families in that area.” Click here to read a thank you note from Bob to all who made this happen.