David Ambrosino says he does not remember anything about May 13 — the day a tree fell on him, paralyzing him.
The 65-year-old Ambrosino of Gloversville had returned to work as a logger to earn some extra money after having retired in 2007, according to son David Ambrosino Jr. The two were logging in the woods behind Fagan Farm on Route 106 that afternoon. The younger Ambrosino said the logging operation was going fine until a “freak accident.” They were cutting a tree that was substantially rotted. The top part of the tree fell off and stuck the elder Ambrosino.
“It hit him in the back,” his son said.
The accident left Ambrosino paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. The family organized a fundraiser Sunday at the Concordia Club on West Fulton Street to help pay for expenses associated with renovating Ambrosino’s house, including adding a wheelchair ramp and making the bathroom handicapped accessible. It was also a way for the family to say thank you to members of the Perth Volunteer Fire Department, who were first on the scene of the accident.
“They were super. They were absolutely great. I couldn’t say enough about them,” the younger Ambrosino said.
First Assistant Chief Mike Quinn said many members had just gotten back from another call when the report of the tree accident came in just after 4 p.m., so they were able to respond within minutes. When they got to the Fagan Farm, they set up a command post. The elder Ambrosino was located a considerable distance from the roadway. The Broadalbin Fire Department lent the use of one of its all-terrain vehicles to get to the accident site.
Quinn credited the response of Capt. Scott Friedlander and Lt. Chris Georgia, who are also emergency medical technicians, as well as Second Assistant Chief Kurt Opalka, EMT Howie Blongiewicz and Firefighter Erik Winchell. “They found him unresponsive and began basic life support,” Quinn said.
Fulton County Ambulance and Fulton County Sheriff Tom Lorey also responded to the scene. Fire officials used a type of steel basket used for rescue situations to transport Ambrosino.
“It was so muddy and rough, they had to literally carry him out of the woods,” Quinn said.
Once safely out, LifeNet helicopter airlifted Ambrosino to Albany Medical Center.
Quinn said the volunteer department is very well trained. “Luckily, we have 15 EMTs and we run a first-responder unit.”
The quick response may have been the difference. Most logging accidents usually result in death right on scene, he said.
Madeline Ambrosino of Gloversville said her husband has gone through a long recuperation, including stays at Albany Medical Center and the Helen Hayes Hospital in Rockland County. He has spent the last six weeks as a patient at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady. He is hanging in there. “God has got us through this.”
“It’s coming,” Ambrosino said as people greeted him and shook his hand. He gave the “OK” sign with his hand and said he has made some progress with his rehabilitation.
“I had a brace on my chest and neck. No more,” he said.
Tickets for the fundraiser were $10 for adults. Niece Aubrey Grant of Gloversville said she was not sure how much money was raised, but family members estimated that 300 people attended.
Lowe’s and Home Depot have donated the lumber and now the family is looking for someone to build the home improvements, Grant said. Donations can also be sent to benefit the “David Ambrosino Fund” care of NBT Bank on Second Avenue in Gloversville.
Madeline Ambrosino said the support from the community has been “unbelievable.”
“It’s just awesome. I don’t know what more to say. Everybody’s been so good, so helpful,” she said, holding back tears.
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Categories: Schenectady County