TOWN OF SHAWANGUNK — The Wallkill Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Fire Department were the latest recipients of State and Municipal Aid grants through New York State, Saturday morning.
They were each awarded $50,000 respectively. The Ambulance Corp’s will go toward the acquisition of an ambulance vehicle, known as a Flycar and the Fire Department will be using their share for a backup generator.
Ulster County Legislative Minority Leader Kenneth Ronk Jr., who is a member of the Ambulance Corp as well as a current applicant to the Fire Department, credited Fire Chief Doug Foster with the growth of the Ambulance Corp during the pandemic when people are wary about responding to homes because of COVID. He said these funds will help both departments expand their services into the future.
“I see a scenario where both the Fire Department and the Ambulance Corp could be a heating and cooling center for people who need to be warm, or cold. It could be a disaster shelter if we go through problems like we have with Irene and Lee and Superstorm Sandy. The emergency ambulance service vehicle is equally as important,” said Ronk.
Senator Jen Metzger (D-Rosendale) has been on a spree of awarding municipalities in her district with SAM capital funding lately, all of which were secured by her office in 2019. Metzger said it is important for volunteer EMS services to have the funds they need and for people to know how crucial their services are to small communities.
“You are trained technicians administering needed emergency care that often prevents trips to the emergency room altogether,” said Metzger. “I know that rural EMS faces ongoing challenges and it’s very important for people to understand the unique and important role that you play in our healthcare system,” she said.
The Ambulance Corp Flycar will allow EMS to engage multiple calls, transport EMTs to training, health fairs, and community events, while the Fire Department’s backup generator will help to maintain operations during outages and inclement weather.