When Scho-Wright Ambulance donated an ambulance to a downstate EMS company that lost two to Superstorm Sandy, members knew the gesture would mean forgoing revenue they’d get if it were sold instead.
The Schoharie-based rescue agency’s generosity is being rewarded with a Christmas present of sorts: a grant of $25,000 from the Constitution Pipeline Co.’s new community grants program.
The company wants to build a major natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to the Schoharie County Town of Wright and expects to file a formal application with federal regulators early next year.
While negotiating through the regulatory process, Constitution Pipeline earlier this year announced the grant program aimed at demonstrating the company’s friendly nature.
“Constitution Pipeline is committed to being a good neighbor by putting safety, environmental stewardship and community support at the heart of our operations,” Constitution Pipeline project manager Matt Swift said in an announcement last week.
Constitution Pipeline awarded 16 different grants totaling $302,482, one of which will help Scho-Wright ambulance workers load victims into their ambulance.
“It is a Christmas present in a sense because we would have recovered something in that neighborhood for that rig we sent down Bellmore-Merrick,” said Scho-Wright president Robert Price.
The grants will support a variety of causes, including a youth mentor program in Susquehanna County, Pa., creating a chamber of commerce in Afton, Chenango County, and helping volunteer firefighters get new turnout gear in Masonville, Delaware County.
A grant will help the village of Sidney, Delaware County, make its municipal swimming pool handicapped accessible and send students to the American Museum of Modern History in New York City through a Franklin Community Educational Foundation program.
Constitution Pipeline will also give the Summit Fire company $22,000 to help pay for the station’s expansion and $23,717 will go toward improving emergency communications for the Richmondville volunteer fire department.
Scho-Wright Ambulance will direct a Constitution Pipeline grant of $25,000 toward the purchase of the volunteer rescue company’s Power Load system used to place victims in the ambulance.
It’s a critical piece of equipment for the ambulance company, where the average age of members is “over 60,” Price said.
“It takes all the weight off,” he said of the powered machine, which handles the heavy lifting, replacing the old-style wheeled gurneys that required lifting strength.
“We don’t need additional physical challenges, so that load system that we have is a terrific, terrific accessory,” Price said.
Price said the company’s participation in the grant program doesn’t signal support or any other position on the Constitution Pipeline proposal itself.
“Scho-Wright as an agency has no business taking a position on a pipeline or fracking or any of those kinds of things,” he said.
Constitution Pipeline is offering grants of up to $25,000 to community organizations in the pipeline proposal’s host counties with plans for two rounds of grant funding each year. Applications for the next round are due by March 15. Grant applications can be found online at www.constitutionpipeline.com.