SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Jerry Handsman joined the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad in 1992 at the age of 40. He’s now been riding for 27 years and served most recently as a deputy chief.
Always wanting to help others, Jerry decided to take it beyond the CPR training that he was certified for at the time and became an emergency medical technician (EMT). He’s been on many calls over the years, but his most memorable was participating in a child’s birth.
Upon the squad’s arrival at the house, the baby boy decided he was coming right away, so there was no time to get to the hospital. With the assistance of Jerry and other squad members on scene, the mother and child did just fine. They were later transported to the hospital for follow-up care.
“It is a tremendously fulfilling feeling being able to help people in need,” said Jerry.
During the day, he’s a software quality assurance engineer, and has also been involved with Literacy Volunteers of America.
Leo Ribau joined the squad cadet program in 2016 at the age of 16. A friend of his was already riding and when Leo heard about what he was doing, it inspired him to join as well. Today, he’s been riding for three years and during this time was in charge of the squad auxiliary for over a year and a half.
During his first call as an EMT, he recalled how nervous he was, but once he had to care for the patient, his training took over and he was able to provide the right treatment.
“With the training I had I knew what to do and what to look out for. When the call was over and we were leaving the hospital, I felt like I had really made a difference. The realization of actually saving a life made me feel honored, like being an EMT was something I was meant to do,” said Leo.
He also stated that he appreciates how diverse the squad is and even though members come from different places and have different backgrounds, everyone is there because they have the drive to help others.
“Being part of our squad is not just something you volunteer to do; you become part of a family and a team. If you want to help people and be there in the moments that really matter, you should think about joining the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad,” he said.