Several dozen people settled in for a brief Saturday morning ceremony to officially dedicate and put the new Escalon Community Ambulance rig into service.
With welcoming remarks by ECA Chief Vanessa Herrero, a prayer by Bruce Marconett, remarks from ECA board chair Diane Alcorn and retired ECA Chief Mike Pitassi and a ribbon cutting, the new ambulance was added to the fleet.
“I have big shoes to fill,” admitted Herrero, taking over leadership of the local ambulance service from Pitassi.
She added that the entire staff at ECA was “excited to put this new car into service” because of its focus on safety for the crew and safety for the patients. She also recognized some dignitaries in the crowd, including Escalon Mayor Jeff Laugero, ECA board members Alcorn and Pam Dyer, representatives of Escalon Fire Department and Rose Dugo of Dugo Signs, which did the lettering for the ambulance.
“We are really excited with this state of the art ambulance,” echoed Alcorn, addressing the attendees.
She also pointed to the ambulance crew members as being an integral part of the community, noting their dedication to their craft is crucial to the health and well-being of local residents.
“This would not be possible without the dedicated staff that has chosen to call ECA home,” Alcorn said.
Herrero said the ambulance was actually delivered by Pitassi, who drove it back from Canada, accompanied by his wife Karen.
The new ambulance was designed by Malley, a New Brunswick, Canada-based company that specializes in ambulances and emergency response units. The 2017 rig will now serve as ECA’s ‘first out’ car for 9-1-1 calls and cost about $90,000.
Another key point of the ambulance is that it was purchased entirely with donated funds, with multiple community supporters and donors contributing.
“When we make an appeal, generally we generate the revenue needed in a year’s time,” Pitassi said in thanking the community for continued support of ECA. “This ambulance service started in 1961 with a bunch of volunteers who generated their own support for it … it’s been a joy to be part of this all those years and I thank everyone here who has ever donated a buck to this service.”
Special recognition went to Mark Hogan – who was not in attendance at the event – and Hogan Manufacturing for being a Platinum Sponsor for the ambulance purchase and for constant support for the service. Other levels of sponsorship, with donor names listed on the ambulance, include Gold, Silver and Bronze.