NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Tickets for the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps’ 2013 Winter Gala were sold out well in advance of Saturday night’s event at the Salem Golf Club. It was the first event in the ambulance corps’ drive to raise $180,000 for a new ambulance.
About 240 people circulated through the club’s main ballroom, meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Dancing and music by the Andrea and the Armenian Rug Riders followed the cocktail hour and buffet dinner and a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction filled in the spare moments.
Prizes included tickets for Broadway’s “Pippin,” four VIP passes to Saturday Night Live, a trial membership at the Salem Golf Club and a two-week rental of a solar-powered chicken coop, complete with laying hens, provided by Front Yard Coop.
“Any town in Westchester would be proud to have this turnout,” observed David Buchwald, North Salem’s newly elected representative in the New York State Assembly. “You get a real sense of the whole community coming together for the men and women who will be there for anyone who needs them.”
Ambulance Corps Secretary Suzanne Sandbank pointed out that most people do not realize the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Croton Falls Volunteer Fire Department are two separate entities. Many think when they contribute to the fire department, the ambulance corps gets part of it, but that is not so.
“Donations have dwindled since 2005 because of the economy,” she added. “Costs have risen. Now we have a bigger gap between what we need for our operating budget and the money that we receive. And we’re completely dependent on donations.”
Salem Hills Nursing Home’s Rose Collins, a nurse supervisor and 23-year veteran of the job, said “Kurt and his team come by frequently, probably a couple of times a week. When we send a resident out to a hospital, it has to be fast. The team is very efficient."
The corps always has been reliable, she recalled; there is so much more traffic since Interstate 684 was built and, therefore, more accidents. “Route 22 was the main road and sometimes somebody hit a deer. There were no trucks or buses.”
“The ambulance corps does so much more than people realize,” Sandbank added. “It runs the Office of Emergency Management, the ambulance corps building. It supplies water and shelter during a crisis. These people work tirelessly and selflessly, 24 hours a day, without a glitch.”
The North Salem Ambulance Corps will have more fundraisers to reach its goal of $180,000 so stay tuned.