The Connecticut Air & Space Center has received a quite generous gift of tools. All sorts and sizes, from simple screwdrivers to a 3500 psi gas powered powerwasher. The museums benefactor, Rich Sommers, a local home improvement owner, suffering from ALS, donated most of his life long tool collection to CASC this August.
The tools were from his home improvement business although some of the older tools were handed down from his father and other family members. Many of the older tools dated to the turn of the last century and have been incorporated in to our Gustave Whitehead display.
Mr. Sommers was recognized this week in a small personal award presentation at his home by the museum president and several members. The museum thanks Mr. Sommers for his generous donation and can assure him that his donation will put to great use with our many restoration projects underway.
About Rich Sommers
Rich Sommers grew up in Fairfield and graduated with an associate’s degree from the Connecticut School of Electronics.
During the first half of his career, he applied his extensive knowledge of electronics, chemistry and physics toward advancements in the field of optics. After working as a trouble shooter and manager of the Optical Coating Laboratory at Fish-Schurman Corporation of New York, he spent 18 years at Innotech Corporation in Trumbull, CT as laboratory manager responsible for the design and development of processes for glass-silicon devices.
Among his achievements, Rich made the optical filter system which sent the first color television pictures from the moon on the Apollo Mission. At Fish-Schurman he was responsible for the manufacturing of laser coatings, dichroics, special conductive transparent films and custom coatings. And while with Innotech, he contributed extensively to the National Science Foundation Solar Cell Program. Many of the processes he developed for these companies are still used today.
After Innotech closed, Richard changed careers to start his own home improvement company, “Sommers Services.” Focusing primarily on residences in Fairfield County, he enjoyed working with homeowners, many of whom quickly became loyal customers – a testament to his skills, his warm and outgoing personality, and his conscientious work ethic. Rich will always be remembered for his eager curiosity and love of learning. His patient persistence and interest in finding answers to solve any type of challenge, whether large or small, was a trademark — both professionally and in everyday life.
Rich also has a very spiritual side and through his faith he supported others as a prayer group leader in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at St Thomas Church in Fairfield for 30 years. Within this prayer group he also had a Visitation Ministry going to Southport Manor in Fairfield and Sylvan Manor in Bridgeport. For the last seven years, he has been active in the St. Laurence Prayer Group in Shelton, CT.
Rich’s brother Joe Sommers is world famous for his movie making and videography skills at UTC / Sikorsky Aircraft.