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The Civic Scene: New ambulance corps to open in Glen Oaks

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When Assemblywoman Barbara Clark was responsible for the funding that helped the former South East Community...

By Barbara Morris

As a longtime community volunteer, I can assure you most volunteers must learn to work with minimal comfort and minimal everything else.

When Assemblywoman Barbara Clark was responsible for the funding that helped the former South East Community Partnership acquire their official civilian patrol car, we couldn’t believe our good fortune.

When I first saw the headquarters of the then active Rosedale Volunteer Ambulance Corps, I compared it in my mind to the facilities — a store front — used at the time by the Laurelton Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Rosedale’s facilities were head and shoulders above those of Laurelton. Sadly, all of the above organizations have fallen by the wayside due to lack of volunteers or other reasons.

The aged civilian patrol car is still in use by the Rosedale Civilian Patrol, but the headquarters for the Rosedale Volunteer Ambulance Corps, still housing two formerly life-saving vehicles, stands as a deteriorating reminder to the community that waste becomes progressive and benefits no one.

With all of the above as history, I could not even envision in my wildest dreams what I would see when I was invited to take a tour of the sparkling new headquarters of the Glen Oaks Volunteer Ambulance Corps, located at 257-02 Union Turnpike, Floral Park.

If someone had told me, as we approached, that it was a Fortune 500 building, I would have believed it. It is a two-story building with two ambulance bays housing two shiny Glen Oaks Volunteer Ambulances.

Over the door of the bays is a huge, professionally-lettered sign advertising the official opening of the new headquarters: July 18, 2004 at 2 p.m. What a victory this has been. Talk about renaissance.

Their original headquarters were established in 1973 and were devastated by fire in April, 1999. Less determined folks would have thrown up their hands and said, “That’s it, we tried,” and walked away.

These folks, led by Ted Rabinowitz, Rich Keller, Jerry Gelbard, and others, threw out their hands and walked toward legislators willing and able to give support to a worthy community project.

State Sen. Frank Padavan, Assemblyman Mark Weprin, Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza and Councilman David Weprin all came forward with generous support, as did others. Especially the members of the communities served by the Glen Oaks Volunteer Ambulance Corps when they ran their many fund-raising events, which are still ongoing.

After all, as we all know, expenses toward a mortgage, insurance, electricity, fuel, and other supplies, keep coming and must be paid on a current basis.

Although almost all of the work on the inside and outside of the building has been done expertly by professionals, the corps volunteers are finishing the basement themselves. This is where they have their exercise equipment, where the response bicycles are kept, where the pool table is to be kept for recreation, and where the bathroom with a shower has been installed.

The first-floor entry way houses monitoring equipment, alarms, and the volunteer dispatcher. Over the years, this corps has handled about 23,500 calls. Beyond that room there is a bathroom, a kitchen, and a lovely, inviting lounge equipped with a TV for between-calls relaxing and comparing notes.

The meeting room is on the second floor, and is large enough to hold a banquet. There is a kitchen attached and a bathroom and multiple small, but well-equipped offices close by. Although I am not a computer person, or a technology expert of any kind, the Glen Oaks Ambulance Corps seems to have enough computer and monitoring equipment to take care of their present and near future needs.

The roof of the building assures good communication with a maze of antennae guarded by our beautiful flag of the United States amid the flag of the Missing In Action.

Congratulations are certainly due to all who have been, and continue to be, involved in this very major project — including and especially Hillside Nursery at 259th Street and Hillside Avenue (718-347-4404), whose donation of the landscaping helped make the whole picture the jewel that it is.

If you need the services of the Glen Oaks Volunteer Ambulance Corps, call 718-347-1600. They do not respond to 911. To send donations, their address is: Glen Oaks Volunteer Ambulance Corps, P.O. Box 340, Glen Oaks, N.Y. 11004-034O.

They will hold a blood drive in cooperation with Waldbaums Glen Oaks and New York Hospital Queens, on July 31, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information, or to schedule a donation, please call 718-347-1637.

You’re invited and will be most welcome.

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