Today’s news:

Padavan secures $40,000 for local ambulance corps

As the city’s police, fire and emergency services responded to the scene of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack, it was the volunteers who helped fill the gaps.

With all eyes focused on Lower Manhattan that day, Queens’ volunteer ambulance corps went to work — providing emergency services for local neighborhoods left uncovered by the terrorist attack, helping to care for the injured and providing extra medical supplies at Ground Zero.

The most devastating injury to the borough’s volunteer ambulance corps since the World Trade Center collapse has been crippling budget cuts amid a slumping state and city economy in which nonprofit groups have suffered.

But state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) came to the rescue this week, securing $40,000 in state funding for eight volunteer ambulance corps in his eastern Queens district.

The money, $5,000 for each ambulance corps, will help the groups meet expenses like insurance, utilities and maintenance and make it easier for them to buy supplies.

Those volunteer ambulance corps benefiting from the funding are: Bayside, College Point, Glen Oaks, Flushing, Jamaica Estates-Holliswood-South Bayside, Little Neck-Douglaston, Queens Village-Hollis-Bellerose and Whitestone.

“The volunteer ambulance corps in northeast Queens are absolutely vital to our community and the safety and well-being of our residents,” Padavan said in a news release. “This money is essential to helping them continue to provide the high level of service we’ve come to expect.”

Christopher Legaz, president of the College Point Volunteer Ambulance Corps, said “this has been an uncertain time for us. Without this funding we might have had to curtail some of the services we provide to the community.”

Legaz said the funding will help the College Point Volunteer Ambulance Corps sponsor blood drives, free CPR classes and help them loan medical equipment like wheelchairs and crutches out to the community free of charge.

In Little Neck, Stephanie Cordes, head of the Little Neck-Douglaston Community Ambulance Corps, praised Padavan for the funding.

“Our regular sources of income meet only about half of our expenses and the events of Sept. 11 have adversely affected our budget,” she said. “We weren’t sure if the state was going to come through with these grants because of budget shortfalls. Fortunately, Senator Padavan got us the funding.”

As the state has cut back on monetary support for community groups, Padavan has been a one-man money machine for eastern Queens nonprofits. In February the longtime state senator got $350,000 for several nonprofits and earlier this month Padavan secured about $300,000 for School Districts 25 in Flushing, 26 in Bayside and 29 in Rosedale.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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