Goshen Volunteer Ambulance Corps has sent out 6,400 letters to Goshen residents and business owners requesting donations during its yearly fund raiser.
However, this year‘s call for help is different.
“We’re now in the twenty-first century,” said GOVAC president George Lyons. “We’ve set up a web page, so now donations can be done electronically. This is really the heart of this year’s fund drive.”
Funds collected will help to offset the cost of setting up the website and maintaining it.
Realizing that the way things are being done now - and into the future - is using credit and debit cards, Lyons set up the website for donor convenience. “Hopefully this will increase donations,” he said.
Also this year, GOVAC is looking to replace a 2003 ambulance with a new one. “We’ve had mechanical issues with the ambulance we have, so it’s time to move on,” Lyons said, explaining that it’s beneficial to replace an ambulance every five-years.
Once an order is in, it still takes a few more months to actually receive the new vehicle. The new ambulance, which costs $180,000, comes equipped with a self-powered stretcher, allowing the crew to lift a person into the ambulance without straining their backs.
One hundred COVID calls
Although GOVAC’s “hometown heroes” have answered about one hundred COVID calls from individuals who have tested positive or showed symptoms, responding to non-COVID calls has been down from last year.
“We didn’t get as many calls from critically sick people because of a reluctance to go to the hospital,” Lyons said. “Calls have been down, and although we receive a small stipend from the Town and Village of Goshen, the important thing to know is that we survive on billing calls and donations. The stipend covers the cost of our required insurance,” Lyons explained.
Call volume has increased since when COVID was in full force.
Currently, GOVAC has a paid crew of 18 and 10 active volunteers. “I’d love to increase the number of volunteers, as this is a 24-hour operation every day of the week, and that includes Saturdays and Sundays.”
Information on becoming a volunteer can be found on the flyer that was sent to each residence or business and online.
Lyons noted that many of the calls are routine calls, such as helping an older individual who has fallen out of bed to more severe cases, like administering emergency care in the case of an accident or first response care for stroke and heart attack victims.
Serving the community since 1973
Other services provided include transporting emotionally disturbed people to Access at Garnet Medical Center; resolving basic health issues, dealing with domestic and physical disputes and responding to motor vehicle accidents and transporting the injured to a hospital.
GOVAC serves the Town and Village of Goshen, along with a large portion of Hamptonburgh. It also provides medical coverage for community events that require medical assistance, like parades or fairs.
Additionally, GOVAC offers temporary use of medical equipment, such as wheel chairs, walkers, crutches, canes and portable potties, free of charge.
GOVAC has answered many community needs since its inception in 1973. Contributions are vital to keep this ambulance service, which has proven medical skills and public compassion, in operation.