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Turkey Trot Honors Custodian Who Died

Students and faculty from Pines Lake Elementary School raised money from their annual Turkey Trot in memory of Jim Brinkerhoff.

Jim Brinkerhoff meant a lot to the students and faculty of Pines Lake Elementary School.

Brinkerhoff, 50, was a custodian at the school for 10 years. He died suddenly of a heart attack Nov. 11. He grew up in Wayne and lived in Montville.

Hundreds of students and dozens of faculty members honored Brinkerhoff’s memory by dedicating their annual Turkey Trot to him. They are donating the proceeds St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Brinkerhoff’s favorite charity. Many pinned his picture to their clothes as they walked around the school for a half hour Wednesday.

“He was such a kind, wonderful person,” said Denise Scalzitti, physical education teacher at the school who helped organize the event. “He would have been proud of what we did today, I think.”

Brinkerhoff’s siblings attended the event. Brinkerhoff was the youngest of six children.

“He had such a heart for others. He loved helping other people,” said Lynn Brinkerhoff-Krowska. “He was just born that way. He would have been proud of this.”

Brinkerhoff was in the business of helping others. His obituary states that he often helped people clear snow and leaves from their properties and did “anything else he could do for those in need in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.”

For every lap someone completed, $1 was donated to St. Jude’s. Scalzitti estimated that the school would donate at least $500.

“If you ever needed something, he was there for you ready to help,” Scalzitti said. “We just wanted to be there for him and honor his memory. He meant so much to this school and to these kids.”

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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