Town & Country Federal Credit Union will donate $100,000 to the Eastern Trail Alliance’s plan to complete a 1.6-mile gap in the off-road trail as it runs through Scarborough, credit union officials announced Tuesday.

The gift is the largest made by the credit union in its 63-year history and one of the largest ever made by a credit union in Maine.

“This project is symbolic of Town & Country’s mission to create a personal connection with each of our members,” credit union CEO David Libby said in a news release. “The Eastern Trail connects dozens of Maine communities and completing this missing piece in Scarborough will enhance that community connection and create accessibility for even more Mainers.”

The Eastern Trail is a 65-mile section of the on- and off-road East Coast Greenway that runs between South Portland and Kittery. When the Scarborough gap is completed, the recreational pathway will have 16 miles of uninterrupted, off-road access from Bug Light in South Portland to downtown Saco.

Town & Country, which operates six branches in South Portland, Scarborough, Saco and Portland, is making the donation in honor of two longtime volunteer board members, Wilfred Couture and the late Edward Connolly, who together dedicated over 85 years of service to the credit union.

Libby described Couture and Connolly as “two people who worked tirelessly on behalf of the credit union and our community for eight decades.”

The $100,000 gift will be earmarked to build a bridge over the Nonesuch River that will be named after the two men, Libby said.

Couture, who lives in South Portland, celebrated 40 years of service to Town & Country’s board in 2016.

“I am honored,” Couture said. “As credit union volunteers, Ed and I worked to find ways to make life a little easier for Town & Country members. I believe this bridge will bring pleasure for everyone who uses the Eastern Trail for many years to come.”

Connolly, who lived in Scarborough, was a board member for 45 years. A longtime Realtor, Connolly had a special affinity for helping first-time home buyers. Connolly’s wife of 60 years, Dorothy, said: “Our family is grateful that Town & Country is recognizing Ed’s work. He loved helping our neighbors and making the community a better place. Ed would be happy to know the Eastern Trail will be more accessible.”

The Eastern Trail Alliance has raised more than $3 million toward its Close the Gap campaign. The Maine Department of Transportation has committed $1.55 million to the project and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System has agreed to spend more than $1.1 million.

Deborah Erickson-Irons, president of the Eastern Trail trustees, expressed gratitude for the credit union’s contribution.

“Town & Country is a fine example of leadership in giving, and demonstrates what can be done when community members work together,” she said. “The Eastern Trail will be able to expand all the way to the Maine-New Hampshire border with these types of partnerships.”

Libby said credit union board members hope others follow their example and help the trail developers meet their fundraising goal.

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