Event celebrates ambulance squad

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  • PHOTOS BY JANET REDYKEThe many badges of Vernon Ambulance Squad member Rich Carson honor years of service.

  • Rich Carson shows his own personal EMS bag used during his three days assisting during the 9/11 tragedy.

  • State Sen. Stephen Oroho speaks at the Those Were the Days meeting on Sunday March 4.

  • One of the rigs of the Vernon Township Ambulance Squad is on display.

The Vernon Township Historical Society continued the Those Were the Days program, highlighting the Vernon Township Ambulance Squad, inclusive Highland Lakes and Glenwood-Pochuck.

John Leeds was the founder of the squad back in 1964 with the addition of the Glenwood-Pochuck in 1980. The all-volunteer squad has experienced numerous changes throughout the years, going from one rig to the state of the art rigs of today. More rigorous training, certifications and an in town medical helicopter transport proves that emergency medical services in Vernon have come a long way.

Representing the Vernon Township EMS past and present were Sally Rinker of the Glenwood-Pochuck Ambulance Squad, Peggy Warnet, Chief of the Highland Lakes Squad and past EMS-Paramedic Rich Carson. Rinker, new to the Glenwood squad, reviewed the intense training saying, ”Being a squad volunteer requires everything from applying a Band-Aid to saving a life.”

Peggy Warnet described her years of experience with the Highland Lakes Squad, citing what an average call is like. Rich Carson began his varied EMS career when he was 16. He displayed a tiny course book for first aiders called The ABCs of First Aid. The copyright of the manual was 1959 and couldn’t have contained more than a dozen pages. Carson compared his manual with its 2018 counterpart as large as a phone book. He labored for three days during the tragedy of 9/11 and displayed his first aid bag containing a few gauze pads, a crumpled stethoscope and a homemade hard hat with two flashlights attached. Untouched all these years, the flashlights still amazingly lit.

State Sen. Steven Oroho was also in attendance explaining his sponsorship of legislation to continue volunteer EMS squads. On Jan. 16, 2018, a 15-member task force was formed and will conduct three meetings in south, central and northern New Jersey on the subject. Gathering ideas and responses, the task force will report in 12 months.

“Squads are a big sense of community,” the senator stated.

Sen. Oroho, himself, served on the Highland Lakes for 11 years and responded to the fatal bus crash on route 515 in 1992.

At the end of the two hour historical society program, historical society president Jessi Paladini concluded by saying, “ A Vernon’s EMS squad has been a community aspect for over 60 years. These wonderful volunteers help us in the darkest hours of our lives.”

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