Frey-Hershey Foundation Fund

John and Mildred Frey.

Paul Hershey knew hard work, both as a child on his family’s farm, and later as a young man working in the factories of his home state of Pennsylvania. In the early 1920’s, Hershey came to Connecticut, looking for opportunity. A small tool shop on Caroline Street in Derby, closed after World War I, was for sale, and Hershey saw the chance to start his own business. The tool shop grew; the business became Hershey Metal Products and moved to larger headquarters in Ansonia. From the early days, through the depression and World War II, Hershey Metals had the ups and downs of a Connecticut manufacturer. In 1940, John Frey, also from Pennsylvania, came to Connecticut and began work at his uncle’s company. 

After serving in World War II and then earning his engineering degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic institute in Troy, New York, John Frey returned to Hershey Metals. He took charge of repairing the factories and super vised the renovations from the severe damage from the ’55 Flood. later, he became the head of manufacturing. The company employed hundreds of Valley people over the years, including multiple generations of the same families. Hershey Metals products were diverse, from parts for commercial and military aircraft, including the indicator light for the Apollo spacecraft; to parts for everyday products, such as hand tools, mechanical pencils, electric brooms, and beer taps. 

From his arrival in the Valley, Paul Hershey led many civic projects and gave to community organizations. He and other industrial leaders were instrumental in supporting the expansion of Griffin Hospital and the Physical Medicine department was named in memory of Hershey’s wife, Mary. John Frey succeeded Paul Hershey as President of Hershey Metals in 1970 and, in the 1980’s, John Frey also expanded the charitable foundation Hershey had started in 1954, renaming it the Frey-Hershey Foundation. Supporting the programs that served the community and their employees has always been important to the Hershey and Frey families. With personal contributions, and through their Foundation, they give to many Valley organizations. 

Mr. Frey also has a special objective to grow young people’s interest in science, and through the Hershey Frey Scholarship at the University 
of New Haven, students from Valley towns are awarded aid to pursue degrees in science and engineering. Frey looks for ward to the number and amount of awards continuing to grow over time.

“I want to find young people who are interested in engineering, and, hopefully, after graduation, they will consider continuing to live in the area and starting their own businesses.” 

John Frey ’s son-in-law, Einar Gudjohnsen, joined the company in 1989 as director of Engineering. The company changed its name to HMP industries in 1993 and Mr. Gudjohnsen is now the HMP’s CEO. Since the mid-1990s the company has focused on upgrading to modern computer controlled (CNC) machine tools and shifting its market emphasis towards more complex, high-tech product categories, including electronics and medical applications. Current products include components for industrial hand tools, transportation systems, electronic paper handling equipment, surgical tools and dental implants. 

Gudjohnsen, and his wife, Jane, work with Mr. and Mrs. Frey to continue their philanthropy through the Frey-Hershey Foundation Fund at the Valley Community Foundation. Wanting to ensure the Frey-Hershey Foundation’s support of the Valley in perpetuity, John Frey transferred the Foundation assets to the VCF in 2006 creating a Donor Advised fund. Frey, his wife, Mildred, and the Gudjohnsens serve as Advisers to the Fund.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to this fund, please complete the secure, online credit card form below:






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