Goshen’s own volunteer ambulance corps, known by everyone as GOVAC, has provided a valuable service to residents here and in the surrounding area for 47 years. GOVAC wants to continue to provide transportation to local hospitals and patient care to those in need.
“We’re having our annual fundraiser,” said GOVAC President George Lyons. “Along with insurance billing, we gain most of our funding for the year from this important fundraiser.”
The Town and Village of Goshen, and the Town of Hamptonburgh, each give a small stipend to GOVAC.
Lyons said all homes and businesses in Goshen and a large part of Hamptonburgh should have received a letter from GOVAC requesting a donation. Lyons is urging citizens to respond.
With a budget of $550,000, the goal for this year’s fundraiser is $50,000. Lyons admits that “it’s an ambitious goal,” but it’s based on what’s needed to run the organization:
Payroll. GOVAC has eight volunteers, but the majority of the crew is paid. “This is our biggest cost,” said Lyons. “but it enables us to have 24 hour/seven days a week service.”
Insurance. Vital for vehicle liability issues.
Ambulances. Build up a reserve fund to purchase a new ambulance every 10 years. Because of the steady, hard use that an ambulance sustains, and they must be in top shape to succeed in all emergency situations, they need to be replaced regularly.
Medical supplies. An overwhelming amount of supplies - everything from Band-Aids to pads for the defibrillator device for cardiac arrest patients.
New equipment. Noting that ambulance equipment is expensive, Lyons said that the latest purchase of an automatic stretcher and power load cost $40,000. However, it makes loading a patient and transporting him into the ambulance quicker and more comfortable for him. Time is of the essence in emergency situations.
A second piece of equipment, called Lucas, performs CPR automatically. “It’s goes continually until we get the patient to the hospital,” said Lyons, explaining that it works while transporting up and down the stairs, even if the stretcher is slanted. “It’s a great asset, a lifesaver, for us and the patients.”
With going through the COVID pandemic, GOVAC has had a record year for calls. Lyons predicts by the end of 2021, GOVAC will have made approximately 1,700 calls. Lyons is proud of the number of people who he, and his crew, have served; most importantly, the number of lives that might have been saved.
In his letter to the community Lyons said, “Our mission is dedicated to giving the best emergency care to the members of our community,” and he noted the number of hours they spend training and managing day-to-day operations.
He added, “Your financial support allows us to be ready to serve you should a medical emergency strike. With your financial support we can continue to provide you and your loved ones quality pre-hospital care.”