Edmond Town Hall Benefactor Surprised By Thanks For A Decade-Plus Of Generosity
Todd Ingersoll is known for his love of surprising people, often with a sizable cash donation. He has donated dozens of laptops to Newtown schools, and five years ago he surprised three Bethel High School grads with brand-new vehicles.
As CEO at Ingersoll Automotive, the Newtown resident has a very successful business and has often said that if a person is “blessed with a little bit of luck along the way, you have a moral obligation to give back.”
But when the tables were turned on him early last week, Ingersoll found himself in an unfamiliar situation.
“My wife will tell you, it’s rare that I’m left speechless,” he said after recovering from the surprise of finding six representatives from Edmond Town Hall (ETH) waiting for him in one of the conference rooms of his Danbury showroom.
One by one, four ETH Board of Managers members and two ETH employees snuck in through the front door of Ingersoll Auto and were discretely ushered into a conference room. While waiting for the guest of honor, ETH Manager of Operations Sheila Torres explained the reason for the visit.
“Todd has been supporting us with nearly ten years of free movie weekends,” she told The Newtown Bee. In January 2013, Ingersoll introduced Ingersoll Auto Free Movies at Edmond Town Hall. The series launched with Ingersoll promising to cover the cost of movie tickets for anyone who showed up, one night each month through the rest of that year.
“I was just trying to come up with a creative way that would provide some family time, in our town, that would appeal to everybody,” he said that month. The series has expanded, with Ingersoll now covering the cost of tickets for at least one full weekend every month. Additional screenings have also occasionally been offered over the years.
Last week Torres called that “a gesture of kindness for the community that just keeps coming,” while ETH Board member Margot Hall said the series “keeps the community together.”
Ingersoll’s generosity has not stopped with the free movie tickets. In 2014, he and his company helped close a significant gap with a generous donation to finish the installation of Blu-Ray technology in the theater.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of the building, Ingersoll again stepped up. He covered the cost of not one, but two temporary drive-in screens installed on the western exterior wall at 45 Main Street, providing a safe opportunity for families to get outside and enjoy the old-fashioned screenings during the summer of 2020.
The second screen was needed after Tropical Storm Isaias damaged the first in August of that year.
Over his quarter century of residency, countless organizations have additionally benefited from his generosity.
Springing The Surprise
Shortly after 5 pm November 14, once the ETH group was in place, an Ingersoll Auto employee led Ingersoll into the room. He was as surprised as planners had hoped for.
“What’s this? What’s happening? The whole Edmond Town Hall gang is here. Am I in trouble?” he said, looking both amused and just a little concerned. The response was laughter, and hugs, while those in attendance mobbed him with hugs and smiles.
Margot Hall was the first to speak.
“We’re here to express our appreciation for your continued attention” to the historic building and the need for updates, she said. Hall thanked Ingersoll for “the free movies that everyone loves, and for helping us to get out of celluloid movies.”
To that, Ingersoll laughed and said, “They weren’t making them any more. Something had to be done.”
“Yeah,” Hall replied, “we were really skating on the edge there for a little while.”
With that, she unveiled a commemorative plaque, a physical offering of the group’s thanks for years of support and generosity.
Joining Torres and Hall for the presentation were ETH Board Chair Jennifer Guman, board members Marie Smith and Betsy Paynter, and ETH Assistant Business Manager Kat Moran.
Ingersoll was clearly appreciative of the gift. He thanked the women repeatedly, and could not stop smiling.
The plaque says “To Todd A. Ingersoll And Ingersoll Auto of Danbury In Recognition And With Gratitude For A Decade Of Support For Edmond Town Hall Theater And The Community From Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers November 2022.” Its base is a stained red wood, with a polished bronze plate and a photo of the theater Ingersoll has been supporting.
After Ingersoll was presented with his plaque, Torres showed him a second one. She told him that the replica would be installed in the foyer of the theater he has supported so selflessly.
“Our patrons can see your support when they walk into the theater every day,” she said.
When the group sat down to talk for a few minutes, Ingersoll reiterated his belief that those who are fortunate should pay it forward. He is a huge proponent of his hometown, where he and his wife have raised three children, he said.
“I really love where we live,” Ingersoll said. “It’s a great town. “
Edmond Town Hall continues to have so much appeal, he said, “because it can host events that appeal to all ages. Kids in our town want somewhere to go to. Young 20s want something to do, without driving all around.”
Guman updated Ingersoll on plans for upcoming comedy shows, and Paynter told him about the next concert series. He hinted that he would be open to additional sponsorships when needed.
Ingersoll’s generosity continues this weekend.
Six screenings of the 2000 feature How the Grinch Stole Christmas, with Jim Carrey in the title role, are scheduled for November 25-27 at 45 Main Street. All six — 1 pm matinees and 7 pm screenings — are free.
Tickets are available first-come first served at the box office one hour prior to each screening. They can also be reserved through the ETH website, edmondtownhall.org.
Managing Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at email@example.com.