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North Salem Resident Pitches In And Never Stops

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Emergency volunteer Peter DellaVecchia “never stopped,” said Hurricane Irene victim, Patricia O’Neill, when she sought shelter in August at the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

DellaVecchia, a 2009 graduate of North Salem High School, has been interested in helping people since his childhood. When he was in sixth grade, his father, John, an EMS volunteer himself, taught Peter what to do if someone had a seizure. In art class one day, Peter’s knowledge was called into play for the first time. He quickly pushed the furniture away and called for a pillow. “What are you doing?!” the startled teacher demanded.

These days Peter continues his EMS work when he is not away at college. “I usually ride in the back with the person going to the hospital,” he explains. “You have to assess their mental status. You keep asking them their name and the date and what happened and where it happened. A family member is only allowed to ride in back if the injured person is a child with special needs and only the parent can take care of them.

“When I get back home later, I know the person is grateful that you helped them. It’s a really good feeling inside.

“I especially like helping old people,” DellaVecchia says. “They’re somewhat forgotten about. And they really appreciate the help. Sometimes it’s the only human interaction they have during the day. I like diabetic calls. They could be completely confused but by the time they get to the hospital they’re talking like normal. It’s instant gratification.”

When he is not studying or volunteering, DellaVecchia flies with the 399th Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. He also went to Boulder, CO to earn a Glider Pilot certificate. His first official passenger was his father, John.

“Peter did a great job,” his dad said afterwards. “I told him not to worry about explaining things to me and just concentrate on flying. It was very exciting!”

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