SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad has been selected as the "EMS Squad of the Year" by the EMS Council of New Jersey. The annual award honors the Emergency Medical Services agency that best demonstrates its contribution to the development and growth of quality EMS care within their community, and was presented to members of the Summit EMS unit during the recent New Jersey EMS Council annual symposium held in Parsippany.
The award was presented by Howard Meyer, president of the EMS Council, who detailed that 300 volunteer EMS agencies in the state were eligible for the award. “Summit is one of many fine volunteer EMS squads in New Jersey that continue to provide high quality emergency response and care at no cost to the taxpayers” said Meyer.
In her letter nominating the Summit unit for the award, Squad Captain Kari Phair cited the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad’s rich tradition in providing service to the community.
“Our membership recognized the expanding role of our organization and planned for it by building a state-of-the-art headquarters” said Phair. The project was a monumental task as the all-volunteer membership continued to staff their regular EMS duty shifts as well as their regular jobs while participating in the planning and fund raising. Thanks to the generosity of the Summit community, the capital campaign raised $5 million in private donations, which was the sole source of funding the project.
Members packed and relocated the entire organization to a temporary headquarters, managed the construction project, then seamlessly moved the organization to its new headquarters all while providing emergency medical services to the community and participating in stand-by events. “We as an organization have remained true to the core mission our predecessors developed and have expanded upon their dedication to the community”, Phair continued.
Today’s First Aid Squad is using new medical treatments and involved in community activities that the founding members could never have imaged. Captain Phair closed her nomination with, “We are a source of comfort to those in need of emergency medical services as well as their families. We assist those who need to charge their cell phones and get warm during a storm. We are a unique diverse group of volunteers that come together for a common good. We are neighbors helping neighbors for over fifty years.”
John Staunton, who served as Captain during most of the transition period, said, “Of the many challenges we faced over the past two years, the most important was to ensure there was no interruption of our vital services during the moves and time in temporary headquarters.” He added, “Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers, we met that challenge and even had four ambulances staffed simultaneously on several occasions. During 2014, we not only answered 2,000 emergency calls in Summit, but also provided mutual aid to surrounding communities more than 150 times.”
This is not the first statewide award for the Summit First Aid Squad. In 2000, the organization was selected as the "Volunteer EMS Agency of the Year" by the State Department of Health.
The all-volunteer First Aid Squad is always looking for new members to join its ranks. All needed training, uniforms, and equipment is provided. For more information, call 908-277-9479, or visit summitems.org.