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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 8, 2012

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Altamont Rescue still going strong after 75 years

ALTAMONT Past and present volunteers with the Altamont Rescue Squad joined together Saturday to celebrate 75 years of service to the village and its surrounding towns.

“It was really a success,” said rescue squad President Elaine Martin.

Members held their diamond celebration dinner at Settles Hill Tree Farm. The event included proclamations, dinner, and a display of historical artifacts from the rescue squad’s past.

The rescue squad worked for a year to make this event memorable, Martin said.

“We had a committee doing the historical part of the program,” she said. Chuck Feldmann, Sue Williams Germain, John Mahoney, Rich Perras, Emily Laraway, and Martin poured over old uniforms, pictures, and newspaper clips to gather a sense of the squad’s history.

“I’ve never had so much fun in my life, to look back at 75 years and see how crazy it was,” Martin said. “We had tons of stuff we collected that was on display.” The committee found old radios and other antiquated life-saving equipment, she said, as well as interesting anecdotes.

“They’d get them down to Altamont, and send them to the hospitals by train,” she said of patients in an earlier era.

The rescue squad gave a recognition plaque to the Altamont Hose Company, for its eight original members who founded the squad after taking their inaugural first-aid course.

“They have never been acknowledged,” Martin said.

Altamont Rescue also gave a plaque to the Altamont American Legion post “for providing us with our own first ambulance in 1938,” she said.

The squad gave Martin a pin for volunteering for 20 years. Two volunteers, Stephanie Klein and Adam Morier, received pins for completing their first year.

Altamont Rescue named Maureen Ramirez the Emergency Medical Service provider of the year.

“She accrued the most hours for EMS,” Martin said.

“Driver of the Year was Rich Perras,” she said. “He’s our driver trainer. He spent countless hours keeping the rigs up to date…and running his own night.”

Sarah Lederman received the President’s Award from Martin for going beyond her duties as business manager, although she no longer holds that post. Lederman volunteered where she was needed for jobs “not entirely in her job description,” Martin said.

Congressman Paul Tonko spoke at the dinner, and awarded a proclamation to Ramirez for being the EMS provider of the year. Tonko also gave a proclamation to Perras for being the Driver of the Year. Tonko honored the rescue squad for achieving 75 years in service, Martin said.

In 2011, the rescue squad answered 765 calls, she said.

“We encompass half of Knox,” she said. “We subcontract for half of Knox, and we run Guilderland calls, if needed.” The squad also responds for mutual aid calls in town or nearby, she said, in addition to serving the village of Altamont.

The dinner featured speakers Dr. Michael Dailey, the head of the Regional Emergency Medical Organization; County Legislator Travis Stevens; and Altamont Mayor James Gaughan.

“I want to thank everybody who came,” Martin said. “We appreciate their support.”

— By Jo E. Prout

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