WESTPORT, Conn. — AHR Expo, the world’s largest HVACR event, to be held in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 3-5, 2020, is giving back to the Orlando community with a donation of $26,300 from its Innovation Awards program.
The Central Florida Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) has been selected as the recipient for 2020. This year’s donation marks the largest donation to date, a result of the Innovation Awards program receiving its most entries ever. Each year, 100% of the entry fees collected from the Innovation Awards competition are donated by the AHR Expo to a charitable organization within the region where the show is being held. In 2019, the AHR Expo worked with the Atlanta area P.A.L. organization with great success. The Central Florida Police Athletic League serves the Orlando/Apopka area and is a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing affordable after school, summer, and athletic opportunities to more than 500 Central Florida youth. P.A.L. partners with organizations to provide a safe, healthy environment for its community children and teens.
P.A.L.’s partnership with the police department provides mentorship as well as safety and crime prevention programs. In addition, P.A.L. partners with a number of community organizations to provide athletic, educational and recreational development. While P.A.L. serves many youths, typically from low- to moderate-income households headed by a single parent, all children are welcome and encouraged to participate in their programs.
In 1967, Orlando police officer Chick Fryar established what would become today’s Central Florida Police Athletic League. Fryer, who is well-known in the area, remains a longtime advocate in the city of Orlando. Fryer grew up in the Paramore District area in a low-income household and aspired to give back to his community. Working closely with the chief of police at the time, Fryer instructed police officers to seek out those in need within their districts and encourage them to contact P.A.L. for assistance — especially underprivileged children living in the Orlando area who could benefit from a safe place to play and enjoy recreational activities. The first Orlando area P.A.L. was launched in an old Winn Dixie grocery store building on Orange Blossom Trail. The city soon put in a playground at Fryer’s request, and both the chief of police and mayor at the time donated money from their own pockets to launch the program. In just a short time, it was apparent that P.A.L. was welcomed in the community and was working to keep area youth from participating in crime activity. In 1976, P.A.L. was officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3). It continues to be a success today, supporting the youth of Orange County Florida.
“The AHR Expo continues to be humbled by the warm welcome from the surrounding communities where the show is held,” said Mark Stevens, show manager of the AHR Expo. “We are thrilled that we are able to work closely with these cities to support local initiatives while we are in the area. The growth and success of our Innovation Award program shows a dedication to our growing HVACR industry — and supporting the growth of strong local programs such as P.A.L. that are serving their community’s youth is another way to support the future of our industry and many others. We look forward to seeing P.A.L. embark on their growth initiative with an HVAC system supported in part by this donation, as well as following along as they continue to provide invaluable services to so many.”
Fryar remains active in his involvement with the Central Florida P.A.L. and serves as the organization’s chairman of the board. Fryar and colleagues will attend the 2020 AHR Expo Innovation Awards ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 4, to accept the donation and speak about their local effort. For more information, visit www.ahrexpo.com.