As part of EMS Celebration Day on Saturday, the Little Neck-Douglaston Community Ambulance Corps will hold an open house and fundraiser at its headquarters.
Located at 42-18 Marathon Parkway in Little Neck, the facility will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. “This is our chance to celebrate and honor what our dedicated emergency medical professionals and volunteers do for our community every day,” said Louis Calderon, president and 13-year group veteran.
The program will includes tours of the facility, equipment demonstrations, visits inside the ambulances, health and safety education, giveaways, free food and more.
As one of its fundraising activities, the group will also sell raffle tickets for such prizes as tickets to professional sporting events, autographed posters of Giants and Jets players, a Keurig coffee brewer and cub cash for any Build-A-Bear Workshop location.
Calderon is hoping visitors will be generous. The group has already raised more than $500 from the raffles. “We hope to do this every year. We can use the money,” he said.
The corps’ president is also trying to increase membership so that hours of operation can be extended. The corps is open 24 hours a day on weekends and 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. on most weekdays, depending on volunteers’ availability.
“We are trying to get new members and have been remodeling the headquarters to freshen it up,” he said.
There are 37 volunteers now, with 12 of them serving as EMTs. Calderon pointed to the success of two EMT brothers, Frank and Joe Pollicino, who were instrumental in the group receiving the Guardian of Life Award this week from the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City.
During last December’s severe snowstorm, the VAC was asked to assist in an emergency because an FDNY ambulance got stuck in snow. “We responded and Frank and Joe delivered a breech baby and got the mother and baby to the hospital,” Calderon said.
He is proud of their efforts and noted that the episode illustrates one reason VACs are so important and why it is necessary for his group to raise funds to help maintain its $110,000 yearly budget.
Calls to the BVAC are mainly to transport residents to doctors’ offices and emergency visits to hospitals. The group also loans medical equipment such as wheelchairs, canes and walkers.
The majority of people using the service have insurance, which covers the VAC cost, but the group doesn’t turn away anyone.
The ambulance corps was organized in 1958. For information, call (718) 423-2333. For emergency service, call (718) 229-0400.