Signs that something was amiss in the Sleepy Hollow Ambulance Corps became apparent to resident Justin Paré on Sunday in front of his Pleasant Street home.
Paré heard a commotion and looked out to see an elderly neighbor being slowly lowered onto the middle of the road by another neighbor. Police soon arrived, but no ambulance. The man had apparently just been walking to the corner to catch a ride to Sunday mass when he had his medical emergency.
After about 15 to 20 minutes of a good samaritan administering CPR to the elderly man, according to Paré, a Transcare van showed up only to crash against a fire hydrant. Ten minutes after that, Irvington mutual aid came to transport the man at last.
Paré shared images of the damaged Transcare vehicle (pictured with article), left behind as the driver got a ride from police. But Paré emphasized that the accident wasn’t the story. It was the slow response and the absence of aid from our own village.
It just so happens that Captain Shelly Glover, who responds to most every call the corps gets, had last week stepped down from her position, ending her membership that very day.
At last night's Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees meeting, the Board officially accepted her resignation.
Among the last calls Glover made was responding to the Tarrytown boat launch on Wednesday, September 6 when the Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps was already out on a call and someone had .
At first rescue boat crews on the water said the woman would be transported to the Nyack side of the river but then emergency crews stationed on the Tarrytown waterfront learned she would arrive here with no ambulance available for her. Momentarily however, SHAC, and Glover, arrived to transport 24-year-old CT resident Anna Krasnowski to Phelps Memorial Hospital where she was immediately pronounced dead.
Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio said he didn’t know what prompted Glover to resign although putting in the amount of hours she did was certainly demanding.
Glover simply said, "After riding more than 550 calls in the last year and administering the VAC, I am stepping away from civic service and returning to private life."
One resident and former corps member, who said “he wishes the madness would end,” accused the village of treating the corps like “a red-headed step child.”
“It would be nice if the village would spend some money on the ambulance," this resident said. "The only reason they are doing anything to try and save it yet again is so they don’t have to pay for someone to come in and provide it to us residents. It's very sad. One day they are going to run out of people to beg to come back then what?”
Giaccio attested that the village had spent money on the corps, close to $20,000 in fact on repairs to their Andrew Lane building. It was always the intent, he said, to get the corps back to its own building from its temporary quarters at the fire house. But it first required some repairs. It got a new roof, new secure office, patch work and painting, new stairs and more before the corps officially moved back in on September 4.
"The Village spent close to $20,000 on these improvements with additional work being done by our DPW," Giaccio said. "The Village Board will also consider purchasing a new exhaust system for the building as they discuss the capital budget."
However, he added, "The building will not be occupied over night as it was in the past."
Giaccio noted that the close proximity between Glover stepping down and the move back was "pure coincidence" as Glover was instrumental in getting the repair work done. "She also felt strongly that for morale, and to attract new members, it was important that the corps have their own building," he said.
Giaccio wanted to personally thank Glover for her service. "I can’t thank Shelly enough for stabilizing the corps and for the countless hours she put in. She not only brought the corps back to respectability, but she raised the bar on expectations for future corps members. The Village of Sleepy Hollow owes her a great deal of gratitude."
She also spent her time recruiting, which is something the corps will certainly need to do now. “I do know the corps has always been encouraging former members to reapply," Glover said. "I personally approached many of them to become active in SHAC service."
After the incident on his street and hearing from police that the corps had no driver available that day, Paré took this as a call to action rather than complaint. He wrote to Glover to say he would like to volunteer as an ambulance driver.
“As unfortunate as this incident was and as frustrating as it was for our neighbors to watch this happen for so long, I'd like to be part of the solution instead of sitting on the sidelines and complaining about it," Paré wrote.
Giaccio and Glover are hopeful others will do the same. Giaccio urged anyone else, old or new, interested in joining the corps, to contact him at 914-366-5105. Training is free.