By Sadef Ali Kully
After almost eight years of effort, the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps unveiled its bright and shiny new ambulance during a ceremony Sunday at its headquarters that was attended by ambulance volunteers from across the city and elected officials.
The white 2015 Ford Transit is stocked with the latest equipment in the emergency medical field.
Present at the ceremony were members of the Glen Oaks, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Jamaica Estates volunteer ambulance corps, along with Borough President Melinda Katz; U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing); state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach); City Comptroller Scott Stringer; and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills).
The ambulance vehicle came to FHVAC, which has served neighborhoods in and around Forest Hills and Rego Park since 1971, after state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) used $100,000 from discretionary state funds to help acquire it.
“EMS workers are among the first line of defense when someone is in danger and having an up-to-date ambulance can make all the difference,” Stavisky said.
The new ambulance joins a fleet of two other vehicles, including a 2009 Chevy Suburban emergency ambulance service vehicle and a 2002 Ford Type 2 van ambulance.
“During last week’s blizzard, we had 20 volunteers camped out and ready to go,” John Alber, president of FHVAC, said.
Alber said that he hoped the new ambulance would help them continue their diligent service.
“People do not realize that life is measured in seconds,” Stringer said. “It’s great to see all the volunteers that sacrifice their leisure time. After the storm in Queens, it’s important to know Queens is not forgotten.”
A longtime staple in the Forest Hills community, FHVAC lost a member of its team on Sept. 11, 18-year-old Richard Pearlman, a volunteer medic who was the youngest person to die in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
“Volunteers do it because they want to do it. I want to thank you because it is not said enough,” Addabbo said. “This is an example of discretionary fund done right and no one better than our local officials know what their community needs.”
Katz and Meng both brought their sons to the ceremony, so they could see and learn about the role models ambulance volunteers are for their communities.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull