In the life of a vehicle, 15 years is a long time especially if it is an ambulance used for taking close to a 1,000 calls a year. That ambulance has been out of service for quite a while. Recently the Lakewood First Aid Volunteer Squad showcased its brand new ambulance and cut the ribbon to make it official.
Jake Sussman, president of the Volunteer EMS, said, “The fact that we now have a new ambulance that will be in service is very exciting. Getting this ambulance has been a long process, and people have put in countless hours since 2014 to make getting this ambulance a reality. We have our friends from the Township Committee, the UEZ, and people throughout the township who have helped us get here. I want to give a personal thank you to Moe Heinemann, the captain of Lakewood First Aid in 2014, who put in countless hours working on this project.
“By putting this new ambulance with current technology into service, we’ll be able to respond to calls and be able to help people; it also helps our volunteers and members. With the old ambulance, there were safety issues. This ambulance is a great improvement, especially the new safety features, such as the state-of-the-art warning devices, and a more comfortable ride with proper restraints for patients and volunteers.”
About 40 volunteers, all from Lakewood, dedicate at least 12 hours a week, handling about 80 calls a month. Many volunteers help out more than 12 hours a week, responding to calls even when they are at work.
Sussman said, “Lakewood is so big that just having volunteers would not be enough. At this moment, the two Township ambulances are out on calls so if a call came in right now, volunteers would take the call. You can’t leave someone lying on the floor. It’s amazing that we are one of the few towns that have so many volunteers. Other towns are having issues with volunteer membership; Lakewood is not. It’s wonderful here in Lakewood.”
Naz Holland, past president and now treasurer of Original Leisure Village, said, “I am so proud of the EMS. They are in our Village, more or less, all the time. We have a health center and a nursing service, but we depend on these people, the volunteers. Everyone should help them. They are so professional, so on the job, so nice and they are very, very kind and helpful. Our Township officials are also so wonderful and dedicated.”
Lakewood Mayor Isaac Akerman noted that the Lakewood First Aid could have just shut their doors. “They are a group of people who pushed to get the right equipment and don’t care about anything except helping people and saving lives. They go about their ways without hurting other people. They are just there to help.”
Mayor Akerman thanked his colleagues, Deputy Mayor Menashe Miller, and Committeemen Meir Lichtenstein, Ray Coles, and Mike D’Elia. “We all worked on this together and I appreciate the team effort. I think it’s a great organization we are helping.”
Meir Lichtenstein, the Township Liaison to emergency services, said, “First of all, we have to thank the volunteers who are here. The reason we wanted the active adult communities to attend this ribbon-cutting is because our volunteers are on track for taking 1,000 calls this year in Lakewood Township, and most of those calls are going to be in the senior communities close by to this building.
“We wanted you to be part of this ambulance dedication, which you see now and should never see again. BUT, if you do see it again, it’s something you will recognize coming through your communities. I want to thank everyone who came out and especially Moe Heinemann. It’s a pleasure partnering with the UEZ and our friends from the senior communities to dedicate this ambulance today.”
Deputy Mayor Menashe Miller said, “The volunteers, the squad, and the service they provide are outstanding. Our whole town benefits from their dedication.”
Several groups contributed to the cost to the new ambulance which costs more than $100,000. Patricia Komsa, the executive director of the Lakewood UEZ, said that the $20,000 deposit for the purchase of the ambulance came from UEZ general project funds. Other contributors were the township and a number of groups that donated funds.