YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Members of the Bergen County Tri-Boro Volunteer Ambulance Corps yesterday delivered a rig they donated to fellow emergency medical service workers in Union Beach.
The connection was made by a Jersey Shore group that has been helping EMS and fire departments hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
“I’m so proud to be part of an organization of people who do this,” Tri-Boro veteran Kerry Burns DeGiovanni told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “That the members of the corps want to reach out to help those in need is just so wonderful.
“I can’t tell you how happy everyone is to be able to help.”
A combination of circumstances made it possible.
After getting a new ambulance earlier this year, Tri-Boro members prepared to put the corps’ 1997 Ford rig up for sale. That was before the storm.
“Everyone in the corps wanted to do something to help,” DeGiovanni said. “Unless you’ve driven down to the Shore, you really have no concept of how hard people down there were hit.”
Enter Nadine Demczyszyn, one of the founders of Immediate EMS and Fire Supplies.
IEFS began as a Facebook page dedicated to collecting and distributing supplies to Shore-area firefighters and emergency responders who were stretched beyond thin bythe storm. Within a week, it exploded into a statewide relief program, with donations of fire and EMS equipment and supplies from across the country and around the world ( SEE: Immediate Supplies for NJ EMS and FIRE Depts affected by Hurricane Sandy ).
Demczyszyn said she “immediately thought of Carlos [Rodriguez] and the Union Beach EMS.”
“Their entire building was flooded. We’d been working closely with them, getting them supplies,” she told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “After I spoke with Carlos and told him about the offer, he had no words. I gave Kerry his contact info.”
DeGiovanni said she and other Tri-Boro members were taken by the corps chief and his crew.
“He’s a wonderful man. He’s been so busy helping others that hasn’t had time to take care of his own home,” she said.
The Union Beach corps — like Tri-Boro, an all-volunteer non-profit outfit — had just bought a brand-new rig that Sandy promptly destroyed.
“They got a loaner duty rig from Keyport that had to go back,” DeGiovanni said. “We realized that we could loan ours forward.”
Staffed by more than five dozen active and inactive volunteers, the non-profit Tri-Boro Volunteer Ambulance Corps is funded mainly through contributions and the support of the three municipalities it serves — Montvale, Park Ridge and Woodcliff Lake. Despite the constraints of an all-volunteer group, members are familiar to the community, frequently turning up at various events.
Its history stretches back nearly 75 years, when a group of civic-minded Park Ridge firefighters raised the funds to buy a LaSalle that became the Park Ridge Trio-Boro Ambulance Corps’ first rig. The group became the Tri-Boro Ambulance Service in 1959, with volunteers from all three communities. In 1965, the corps bought a second vehicle.
Two years ago, the name was changed to the TriBoro Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
“The ambulance was purchased by the community for the community,” DeGiovanni told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “And now it will be helping those in need.
“This turned out to be a wonderful thing.”
( PHOTO ABOVE: Union Beach EMS Chief Carlos Rodriguez , Kerry Burns DeGiovanni of Bergen County Tri-Boro Volunteer Ambulance Corps )
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