Members of the Scho-Wright Ambulance Service gathered Tuesday to say goodbye to a trusty ambulance they’re donating to a Long Island ambulance company that lost two of its units to superstorm Sandy.
The group of volunteer emergency medical technicians, who cover the Schoharie County towns of Schoharie and Wright, secured a new ambulance less than a month ago.
They all agreed they wanted to answer the call for help in the coastal areas inundated by flooding in late October, Scho-Wright President Robert Price said.
The 2006 model ambulance survived Tropical Storm Irene’s flooding that swept through Schoharie and the ambulance company’s garage, and members decided to forego the $20,000 or more they could have earned by selling the ambulance.
“We know what these guys are going through. If you lose your rig, you can’t do anything,” Price said.
Emergency service companies from all over New York state sent people and supplies to help with the immediate aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene last year, fire company Capt. Roy Overholt said.
“A lot of the fire companies and ambulance companies came up here to help us and offered used trucks,” he said.
Overholt said EMTs started hearing from returning firefighters that several ambulance companies suffered major damage and losses in the disaster but the path to help wasn’t clear and contact was difficult in the wake of the disaster.
Offers of help were tied together with requests for help when Certified Ambulance Group of Connecticut sent out a call to all of its clients describing the need.
CAG provides billing services for ambulance companies in 16 states from as far north as the St. Lawrence Seaway and south to Texas, representative Mark Gentile said. He said his local area escaped major damage from the late-October disaster, and the gear and equipment it stocked up in preparation for that disaster is now in the hands of those who need it most.
Since they got it in 2006, the large ambulance Scho-Wright is donating has made roughly 2,000 trips, Price said.
The ambulance will go into service at the Bellmore-Merrick Emergency Services Co. of Bellmore, Nassau County, on Long Island.
He and CAG sales manager Bruce Berin drove up to Schoharie Tuesday with plans to drive the Scho-Wright ambulance back to Connecticut and fit it with a variety of medical supplies donated by other companies that agreed to help.
“It’s these guys that are making the difference,” Gentile said.
Firefighters from several Schoharie County companies traveled downstate for 72-hour shifts following Hurricane Sandy.
County Fire Coordinator Matt Brisley said volunteers from the Schoharie, Middleburgh, Cobleskill, Sharon Springs, Jefferson and Central Bridge fire companies sent five to six members at a time.
Damage downstate is similar in nature to what people in the Schoharie and Mohawk valleys suffered last year, but on a massively greater scale, Gentile said.
Scho-Wright is also sending a stretcher in the ambulance.
“People were so good to us ... it’s just the right thing to do,” EMT Gen Overholt said.