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12/21/2022 10:09 AM

Max Sabrin: Giving Back is in His DNA

Max Sabrin moved full-time to Old Saybrook in 2003. Since then, he’s volunteered in a number of causes near to his heart, saying he “owed it to the town.” Photo courtesy of Max Sabrin

In order to give back to a community that has given him so much, Max Sabrin has made serving Old Saybrook a top priority.

"I just do what I do,” Max says.

Having lived in Old Saybrook for close to 20 years, Max has made giving back to Old Saybrook a large part of his life due to a deep appreciation for the town.

“I feel Old Saybrook saved my life,” Max says in all sincerity.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Max was living 15 blocks from the World Trade Center. In order to heal from the hurt brought on by that day, Max and his family escaped to Old Saybrook where they had a summer house.

“I knew people who died that day. It was November and we still had smoke in our apartment. It was a bad scene physically and emotionally and we just wanted to get out of the city,” Max says.

In 2003, the family made the decision to move to Old Saybrook full-time and in 2004, Max joined the Old Saybrook Volunteer Fire Department. “One of my neighbors was a member and I wanted to do something to give back to the community. I feel like I owed it to the town,” says Max.

Max serves the department as a fire police officer. “I protect our people and vehicles in traffic,” explains Max. “When there’s an accident on the Post Road or [Interstate] 95, we’re the ones closing the road and making sure people stay away from the scene,” he adds.

Obviously working with the fire department can make for stressful situations.

“There’s no such thing as a normal day,” Max says. Max admits that it can hit home when the department responds to an emergency that results in a fatality. “That is the hardest part for sure.”

However, there are plenty of good days in the department as well.

“It’s a great family unit. The camaraderie with the guys and gals is the best part. It’s a great group of people,” Max says of his favorite part of the department.

In conjunction with his work in the department, Max enjoys events that help people in the community.

“If it’s not a cause I believe in, I don’t do it. So, everything I do is something I believe,” says Max.

One recent event occurred on Dec. 17 when Old Saybrook residents honored veterans who have passed away in town with a wreath-laying ceremony at their gravesites. A ceremony was also held on the Town Green. The ceremony is part of National Wreaths Across America Day, an initiative that aims for wreaths to be laid on the graves of veterans in towns across the country. A convoy of cars travels from Maine to Arlington National Ceremony in Washington, D.C. for a national ceremony. “I’ve been promoting the ceremony within the department since 2008 at least,” Max says.

Besides the Wreaths Across America event, Max is also involved in organizing an annual food drive.

“I’m big with the annual food drive for the last 10 years. It’s humbling. You see people who really need the help, and it’s a wake-up experience,” Max says. “It’s a personal pet peeve to me. Nobody in this country or this town should be going hungry."

For Max, volunteering is something he says comes from a yearning within himself to do good for others.

“It’s in my DNA. Helping somebody who needs help is how I was raised by my late parents. It comes from a passion to do something for the good of the community,” says Max.

As for the wreaths specifically, Max says, “ I’m not a veteran myself but I know people who are. I think it’s always inspiring to help fellow first responders.”

Max was born in New York City and grew up in the Bronx. In his spare time, Max can be found watching old movies and British TV shows as well as going to shows at the Goodspeed or concerts in New Haven with his wife Deanie.

For Max, Old Saybrook means a little slice of Norman Rockwell-esque Americana.

“Old Saybrook is like a great American little town. The people are great and I’m just blown away by the generosity of the people in this town,” says Max. “Great people live here.”