City honors Amelia's legacy at 10th anniversary
Date: 9/15/2010Sept. 15, 2010
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD -- Albert Ferst's love for his late wife Amelia is as strong today as it was 10 years ago when Amelia Park opened its gates to the city of Westfield.
Ferst honored his wife and the park's 10th anniversary with a public celebration of more than 700 people on Sept. 10 at Amelia Park Ice Arena. Ferst is responsible for creating the non-profit Albert & Amelia Ferst Operating Foundation in 1998, which financed the 67,000 square-foot arena and the 1.3-acre Amelia's Garden.
"Whatever anybody has offered to do here, I will meet it or even double it because it is always for my beloved Amelia. It will never be [for] Albert," Ferst told the crowd.
The arena and garden are adjacent to the Amelia Park Children's Museum on South Broad Street.
Carole Appleton, executive director of Amelia Park Ice Arena, also announced Ferst's donation of $10,000 worth of ice time "to Westfield area children's related charities," which equates to 40 50-minute blocks of ice time.
"Without his generosity we wouldn't have this gorgeous facility or this arena," Appleton said.
Mayor Daniel Knapik added, "Mr. Ferst, in honor of his wife, has done a wonderful thing for the community ... This is something that as a community we should be proud of."
Corey Drouin of Agawam noted that if not for Amelia Park Ice Arena, he wouldn't have been able to play sled hockey as the only other teams are in Connecticut or New Hampshire. Drouin, who makes his way in the world via a wheelchair, played for the Springfield Sliders youth sled hockey team and now plays for the Western Mass. Knights in the adult league.
Drouin said he's grateful to the Fersts and the staff at Amelia Park, for without whom he'd be unable to live out his passion on the ice.
Charitable organizations are encouraged to e-mail Appleton at firstname.lastname@example.org
to receive applications for free ice time.