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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 5, 2009

Has created driver-only post
Voorheesville Area Ambulance seeks new volunteers

By Philippa Stasiuk

VOORHEESVILLE — To attract volunteers, the Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service has created a new driver-only position, Trustee Jack Stevens reported to the village board at its monthly meeting last Tuesday.

According to Robin Shufelt, captain of the local squad and a 25-year member, volunteers for both drivers and EMT positions have been declining over the last few years. Currently, the squad has about two dozen members and answers close to 400 calls annually.

“The problem is getting progressively worse because people are working more hours and not volunteering, or they’d rather give a check than volunteer for this position,” Shufelt told The Enterprise this week. “Also, some people don’t want to get involved because of the possibility of exposing themselves to illness or blood, or for whatever reason they find it difficult to handle.”

The ambulance service board changed its bylaws to add a driver-only position, Shufelt said, in order to cover the Monday to Friday daytime slots, when coverage is most needed and so that the emergency medical technician would be able to focus on the patient.

“This special driver could be someone who is retired or works at Atlas Copco or in the town or village and can’t or doesn’t want to sign up for specific hours of time,” Shufelt said. “They would carry a pager and, when a driver was needed, they’d call fire control and tell them they could be a driver. It would be someone whose employer says they’re able to leave for a short time, an hour-and-a-half to two hours average.”

The volunteer in the special driver position would not have to attend meetings or monthly training, and would only need to know lay cardiopulmonary resucitation and attend four refresher training sessions each year, in addition to a few other basic requirements.

Shufelt said that the board requires a voting member of the squad to volunteer 60 hours per month, but nonvoting members need only volunteer for 24 hours a month.

The position also carries a profound sense of satisfaction, according to Second Lieutenant Denise Garrah, another twenty-five year member.

“I’ll describe one call,” she said. “A person was fine then he didn’t feel good, then he went into full cardiac arrest. This was before Albany had paramedics so, while we were waiting for the fire department, we used a defibrillator to get his heart back to a treatable rhythm. Some years later, that man saw me at a village concert at the park and he came and shook my hand and thanked me, and said that he had started a family.”

Garrah went on to describe other touching experiences she had had as a volunteer. “You’re with someone, a family member,” she said, “and they know their parent or wife or whoever is not going to be with us for long and you help them in their last ride to the hospital and they know it’s the last ride, and they appreciate the comfort they get in the end.”


Other business

In other business, the board:

— Heard from Darrell Duncan, Public Safety deputy commissioner of the town of New Scotland, during the pre-meeting, that the town of New Scotland is requesting permission to connect into the village’s water service. Engineers are requesting board permission to do so in order to purchase about 45,000 gallons of water over a three-day period while making improvements to the Northeast Water District.

Duncan said that, pending the village board’s approval, the town of New Scotland would begin servicing its water system before the end of the year. The board requested more information from the board of New Scotland prior to giving approval;

— Heard from Trustee William Hotaling that the planning commission approved a concept sketch for developer Troy Miller’s six-lot subdivision development located at 4 Prospect Street, on a 16-acre lot previously owned by Harold Veeder, owner of the historic Vorhees House;

The commission also tabled a double-face sign for Purity Hair Salon until it can be assessed by the zoning board of appeals, and requested more information from Diane Lucci, who is petitioning for five more vendors at the Voorheesville farmers’ market;

— Passed a resolution read by Anne-Jo McTague, accepting 12-month audit of the justice court demonstrating that the court was accountable for the funds it received;

— Heard from Codes Enforcement Officer Glenn Hebert that, beginning in January 2010, new state legislation will require a $25 permit for all residents doing roof replacement. All roofs will need to be inspected by a village official to ensure that ice and water barrier shields are present, and that materials are being disposed of appropriately.

Hebert also reported that the village had received a letter from the Albany County Planning board, stating that Voorheesville, along with other municipalities that comprise the majority of review requests, will from now own rely on their own local jurisdiction for projects like decks, swimming pools, and sheds;

—Heard from village Treasurer Linda Pasquale that GreenFiber, a company that makes house insulation from recycled paper products, will be placing a recycling bin behind the village fire department. Villagers can place newspapers, cereal boxes, phonebooks, magazines, office paper, brown paper bags, cardboard, and construction paper in the bin, which will be picked up by the company free of charge;

— Heard from Mayor Robert Conway that the village extends its condolences to the family of Robert York and that, “our thoughts and prayers go out to them”;

— Heard from Mayor Conway that the fourth-graders from Voorheesville Elementary School had paid their annual visit to the town offices. Conway said he was asked by a student what he was doing with his free time now that the Boston Red Sox baseball team are finished for the season; and

— Heard from Superintendent William Smith that leaf cleanup is underway. He requested that anyone owning a portable basketball hoop near the street remove it, as it is on the village right-of-way. Smith said the hoops obstruct vehicles trying to remove leaves, snow, and garbage.

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