Something to Think About: Bushkill Emergency Corps dinner will share golden memories


By Debbie Kulick

Posted Nov. 18, 2015 at 9:05 PM Pocono Record

This has been a very special week for Bushkill Emergency Corps.

It is the celebration of the organization’s 50th anniversary and the corps was selected as the winner of the first annual Samantha Agins First Responder Award at The Monroe County Image Awards. Two very exciting events for sure.

For those who have lived in our community for those 50 years, they'll remember when there was no ambulance service locally. One ambulance, staffed by the maintenance workers of what was then Monroe County General Hospital took the ambulance and eventually arrived to pick the patient up and take them back to the hospital. It's certainly nothing comparable to today’s state-of-the-art treatment patients receive when transported to the hospital.

I always say to people that the difference is “today we save lives; back then we just swooped and scooped and hoped for the best.”

This Saturday night, the organization will celebrate the milestone with an awards dinner at Shawnee Inn that will not only honor those serving today, but remember those who had the foresight to see just what a difference the presence of medical help in our own backyard could make. The organization’s original meeting was held at the old Bushkill Reformed Church and was called to order by Martin Mendler after the opening prayer offered by the Rev. Paul Van Elk. Both men would go on to become charter members of the corps.

That meeting had all the big names during the time, old established families who stepped up to help create the organization. Names like Turn, Garris, George, Odgen, Bensley, Julstedt, Rohner, Flagler, Eshback, DePue, Minter, Mendler, Herdman and Dickison all became part of the history of the emergency corps.

The corps started with two used ambulances, and about a dozen or so American Red Cross Standard First Aid trained residents. It began as a totally volunteer organization and today still boasts of a significant volunteer base combined with career staff. The training has certainly changed, of course, with emergency medical technicians and paramedics staffing trucks, but the heart and the purpose of the organization remains the same: “Serving Our Community, Serving With Pride.”

The awards dinner will recognize the following individuals for achieving volunteer service. For two years of service, Kelly Lopez, Robert Justis and as a Community Board of Directors member, Kathleen Farrelly.

Judy Ciccone and Stephanie Felmly-Ciccone will both recognized for five years of service. Two community Board of Directors members, Dennis Farrelly and Albert Murray Jr., will be recognized for 10 years each of service on the Board. Michelle Felmly, will be recognized for 20 years of service and finally, recognized for 40 years of service, Barbara Kulick. Each and every one of the recipients has been committed to serving our community and providing the best emergency medical services possible.

As an Advanced Life Support (paramedic level service) provider, there is one person who assumes great responsibility and places significant trust and confidence in the providers in the field -- the organization’s medical director. Since the addition of ALS level service in the early 1990s, one individual has donated his time, had the confidence in our providers who act under his medical license: Dr. Peter Favini.

From the start, he has guided the organization, assured that it provides the highest level of care and has done so as a volunteer as well. What better time to recognize such commitment than on the 50th anniversary? He will be awarded the Bushkill Emergency Community Service Award for his commitment to Bushkill Emergency Corps.

Making the event even more special will be sharing time with former members who will get to renew acquaintances, meet today’s providers and see just how much EMS has changed and knowing that Bushkill Emergency Corps has been appreciated more than those first folks could have ever imagined.

Debbie Kulick contributes a weekly column to Pike & Monroe Life.