By VIRGINIA BATES
When Daniel Lovegrove opened his sports memorabilia business, Recollectics, five years ago he had two goals. One, which he began accomplishing right away, was to make his business grow and become successful. Daniel worked multiples of 40 hours each week, and Recollectics was soon sending its products from the small room behind the Chamber of Commerce all over the globe.
Daniel was swamped with work. So two years ago he called the Darien High School Jobs Office, and one of the applicants for the job he offered was Eric Thompson.
Daniel says, "One of the best things I ever did for my business was hire Eric Thompson."
Eric did a lot more than prepare orders, wrap packages and make trips to the Darien Post Office.
"He was a true businessman," says Daniel. "He mastered the day-to-day operations. He ran the computer, did pricing, helped to prepare ads. He learned to buy and sell - he knew the business and he served the customers."
Last year, when Eric was a senior at Darien High, Daniel was able to get to his second goal.
"I had dreamed of creating a service scholarship that could be won by my employees," said Daniel, smiling, "and Eric was a perfect first candidate. The idea was that Eric create a community service project and carry it through on his own."
Eric Thompson thought he knew of a job that really needed to be done. He, along with many other Darien kids, had been going to the Cafe at Christ Church in Greenwich, a drug-free, alcohol-free place where young people could go to hear music and dance. The Cafe, begun in 1984, closed last winter.
Eric went to Steve McCardle, who had assisted Director, Dave Pettie with the running of the Cafe. Eric's idea was to help stage two post Cafe events, essentially to round tip a group of kids who were willing to work their heads off to reopen the place at least twice.
"The kids took all the responsibility," said Steve McCardle. "They held weekly meetings; cleaned up the room at Christ Church. They cleaned and refurbished sound equipment, wrote publicity, made signs, and got Pepsico to donate refreshments. Our role was purely that of advisors.
"Alex Ivey of Darien got the band for the first night, and the kids set up a bar and security at the door. It was a huge project, and Eric was key."
"Eric had incredible tenaciousness," says Steve's wife, Susan'
"I never worked so hard in my life," says Eric.
Renamed "250 - PULL" the Cafe reopened for two crowded nights, July 22 and August 12.
The project met Daniel Lovegrove's carefully thought out criteria for the Recollectics Service Scholarship. The motto for the scholarship printed on the presentation plaque designed by another Darien High School student, Emil Corsillo, reads, "Invent Opportunity - Serve Your Community."
Eric is now a freshman at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and Dan Lovegrove says, "Eric will always be a part of Recollectics, no matter where he goes and what he does."
The awarding of the first Recollectics Service Scholarship is celebrated by winner Eric Thompson, left, and by sponsor Daniel Lovegrove, owner of Recollectics. Eric is currently a freshman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
DARIEN NEWS-REVIEW, Thursday, October 19,1995
Reprinted by permission, Darien News-Review. (c) 1995 Darien News Review.