Volunteers raise money for Pa. city EMS amid budget shortfall
In two and a half to three hours, volunteers raised $911 in an effort to supplement the $75,000 annual budget shortfall to keep services running in the area
Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa.
WEATHERLY, Pa. — Volunteers have raised almost $4,600 for the Weatherly Ambulance Association since the beginning of 2019.
The latest fundraiser was the Weatherly Hillclimb Association’s Pit Party, an after-parade picnic at the first Hillclimb event of the year on June 7.
Councilman Joe Cyburt, also Hillclimb Association president, said a small picnic normally held Friday night was used this year to raise money for the ambulance.
“In two and a half to three hours, we raised $911,” Cyburt told council. “I noticed there were a lot of different, non-race-related people. There were a lot of people from town who came out and supported it. Then the Weatherly Little League approached us, and wanted to match the $911. There was a lot of money raised for the ambulance this weekend. It just shows people in town really care and know they need the service.”
Judy Desrosiers, another Hillclimb board member. noted the irony of the amount raised — 911 is the emergency telephone number someone would dial to get an ambulance.
“It was in a container,” Desrosiers said of the donations. “It (the amount) was so random, like it was meant to be (for the ambulance).”
Councilwoman Theresa D’Andrea said aside from the picnic and the Little League, other donors came through at the Hillclimb.
“Bonnie Barbush donated $50 in memory of her father, Otto, who served on the ambulance board for 37 years,” D’Andrea said. “And Joe Cyburt donated $25.”
Desrosiers said the Hillclimb group also gives money to the ambulance for being present at the two-day racing event.
“With the $911 from us and the $911 from the Little League, and the $600 they got for being there, they came away with $1,822,” Desrosiers said.
The Mother’s Day fundraiser netted the most, $1,137.56. Other fundraisers were: Silver Ridge Hunting Club, $690; Father’s Day, $608.75; Our Lady of Lourdes Church, $4,000, for a total of $4,595.31, D’Andrea said.
Last fall, an ambulance association representative said it was running at a $75,000 annual shortfall, and had enough money to operate for another year.
Since then, the volunteers have raised the money, the Mahoning Valley Ambulance unit has stepped up to answer calls in Weatherly two days a week, and ambulance service was scaled back from 24 hours a day.
Mayor Tom Connors said a recent incident in which a woman was injured breaking up a fight between two dogs highlighted the need for the ambulance to again be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We needed an ambulance to check her out. and we waited quite a long time for an ambulance to come from Hazleton,” Connors said. “It took over a half hour. If she would have had a heart attack. I wouldn’t have been able to help her. We need to get seven-day-a-week coverage here as soon as possible. Bad things happen really quick. Waiting for that ambulance was a pretty frightening experience for me.”
D’Andrea thanked the community for money raised for the ambulance at other recent events.
“Memberships were mailed out already, and we’ve gotten about 80 or 90 back, which is great at this time,’ D’Andrea said. “In August or early September, we are going to have a fall festival at the ambulance building. We will be showing children what it’s all abut so they are not frightened when something happens to their parents. We hired another EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). We now have six.”
Cyburt also said Borough Manager Harold Pudliner was inducted into the Bill Morse Hill of Fame.
“One of the nicest things that happened over the weekend is that Harold was inducted,” Cyburt said. “His name is now down there, and it deserves to be there. I know a lot of the drivers and people were very happy to meet him. It was something that was well earned and well deserved.”
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©2019 the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.)