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Saturday ECA Celebration Open To Community
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Weather forecasters are calling for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s for Saturday ... perfect weather for a party.

Escalon Community Ambulance will celebrate its 50 years of existence with a special open house and ceremony at the 1480 Ullrey Avenue station, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 30.

The community is invited and festivities will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the formal ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

Escalon Community Ambulance Chief Mike Pitassi said they are planning to have food, music, displays of old and new fire trucks and ambulances, a touch down by MediFlight air ambulance, brief remarks from officials, the chance to visit with founding members of the community ambulance service, tours of the station and more.

It was in April of 1961 that the Escalon Community Ambulance was chartered so this year marks its 50th year of operation. Pitassi said the community has supported the ambulance service since its inception, with membership fees, donations and memorials helping provide for all the equipment needs over the years.

He has been with ECA for 23 years and said the service is blessed with a good board, a supportive community and people that are willing to give their time and talents for the cause.

The celebration will include a barbecue with food provided through a local donor, music, demonstrations and the ceremony for "introductions and thank you's" at 11:30 a.m., said Pitassi.

Escalon Community Ambulance has three ambulances in service, two of them completely equipped for ALS, Advanced Life Support, and one BLS, Basic Life Support, two wheelchair vans and an ALS-capable support vehicle.

The ambulance service partnered with Oak Valley Hospital District in 1995, with OVHD now handling all the accounts payable, accounts receivable, insurance coverage and the like.

About 1,100 households are included in the Escalon Community Ambulance membership, providing coverage for about 3,000 members in the city. The party will also celebrate their contributions over the years, said Pitassi.

Expected to be on hand for the festivities are ECA board members including president Jerry Emery, vice president Diane Alcorn and secretary Sheila Arellano. Pitassi said charter members Jim Payne and Ralph Verschoor may also attend and he hopes local CPA Larry Hanway - who has served ECA since the early 1980s - will be there as well.

"He's as much a part of the family as anyone, a strong advocate as well as a great confidante for me and the board," noted Pitassi.

There will be demonstrations, competitions, food, music and fun for all, Pitassi added, with the community asked to come and join the Saturday celebration.