South Orange, NJ,
00:00 AM

Right Place, Right Time

While on a delivery to a local business, George Berkeley, owner of a local UPS Store, needed to walk across the street. As he looked left for the traffic flow, an illegally parked car on his right backed up and ran over him.

Fortunately, the South Orange Rescue Squad was in the right place at the right time. The members of the rescue squad quickly sprang into action, getting the car off George and transporting him to the hospital in record time. George’s injuries were not life threatening, and he continues to praise the Squad for their prompt and professional service.

It is dedication like this that helped the South Orange Rescue Squad gain support of the local community. This support would became critical as the Rescue Squad would soon need saving.

Rescue Squad sends out a 911

Like many volunteer departments around the country the South Orange squad struggled to stay afloat in a time when private ambulance companies were on the rise. Their headquarters was in jeopardy of being displaced when a developer purchased the building where they were located. Through negotiation, the developer agreed to donate land elsewhere for the rescue squad, but they would need to build a new headquarters.

Catherine* became an advocate for the squad after they saved her husband. When her husband went into sudden cardiac arrest, Catherine immediately called 911. With their usual fast response, the squad arrived before the police and were instrumental in saving the life of this husband and father of two. The family was so thankful and they told friends and family about the great work of the squad. Soon, funds started rolling in. The Squad also entered the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant program.

Catherine shared information with local media outlets and anyone who would listen. Her efforts helped them gain great community support and they won one of the $25,000 grants.

Realizing anyone can experience an emergency like her family, Catherine is working with the squad to make sure the community has access to first aid and CPR classes. The classes will be held at their new facility, in a special training room that was made possible in part by the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant.

The new headquarters is being built and is expected to open December 2015.

“The renewed support from the community and our new facility will help us start a new chapter at the Rescue Squad.” Melanie Troncone, President of the squad said, “It showed us that our hard work and dedication is appreciated by more people than we imagined.”

Local legislators, Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey and Assemblyman John F. McKeon all rallied to support the squad. McKeon shared, “They serve an important purpose in our community by ensuring our neighbors receive crucial emergency medical aid, free of charge.”

Once the new headquarters is open, it will be dedicated in memory of Mary Connor, matriarch of the South Orange Rescue Squad. After joining the Rescue Squad in 1969 Mary dedicated more than 40 years of her life in service to the Rescue Squad and the community. Mary also served as President of the Squad for many years.

Another way the Squad is making sure the community will always have supportive services is through their Cadet program. The program is run through the local high school and instructed by members of the Rescue Squad. Students take classes in first aid and safety and then volunteer on evenings and weekends to cover shifts with the squad.

Working alongside certified emergency medical technicians, allows the cadets a hands-on experience and sets them on a path of helping others recover from the unexpected.

Squad Captain Dan Cohen said “Being displaced caused the community to think that we were no longer around. But the support we received through our fundraising campaign helped get us back in the public eye. Now they know we are here…just like a good neighbor.”

*Catherine is an alias

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