BY JON CRONIN
One of the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps’ two ambulances was recently demolished after a large tree branch fell on it. Now, the corps is seeking funding for repairs.
Ron Cohen, a former president of the Ambulance Corps and current EMT, said that the ambulance was parked outside of the garage while the corps was performing maintenance on the other ambulance and heavy branches fell from near the elevated tracks and caused serious damage.
Cohen said that a replacement ambulance would cost anywhere from $80 to $120,000. He currently posted a GoFundMe account on Facebook that can be found under “Forest Hills Ambulance.”
In the past five days, the ambulance corps has raised $535.
The ambulance that the corps currently has was bought in 2015 with funds that the group received from state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing).
“It’s about the community, it’s not about us necessarily,” Cohen said of the need for a new ambulance. “We are only allowed to assist another agency, if we have an ambulance available for our home community.”
The Forest Hills Ambulance Corps, which is available to service residents of Forest Hills and Rego Park, does not charge those it assists. Cohen pointed out that the group’s “main problem is we cannot respond to calls for mutual aid.”
The ambulance corps responds to approximately 500 calls per year. The corps can bring patients from Forest Hills and Rego Park to hospitals or take those residents from hospitals to their homes.
The ambulance corps was established in 1971, and can respond to local and regional emergencies as long as the group has an extra ambulance to serve the community. In previous decades, the corps has responded to such disasters as planes crashes and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The corps has approximately 100 members. Between 50 and 60 of them are Emergency Medical Technicians and another five to 10 of them are paramedics. There are also nurses, physicians, police officers, federal officers, business owners and teachers.
“The whole idea is to have neighbors helping neighbors,” said Cohen.
Reach Jon Cronin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 125.