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Ambulances hit road with new look

PROUD MOMENT — Fr. Joe Baynes, County Emergency Services Chaplain is surrounded by the North Collins Emergency Squad as the group dedicated two new ambulances. (Photo by Larry Wroblewski)
SCHOOL/COMMUNITY COLORS — The new North Collins Emergency Squad ambulances sport a new paint scheme and state-of-the-art emergency technology. (Photo by Larry Wroblewski)
The North Collins Emergency Squad officially put two new ambulances in service with a dedication program held July 21.

The rigs sport a brand-new look, a departure from the historic red-and-white motif used for most of its history going back to 1969. According to EMS Director Janice Catalano, the current paint scheme was a group decision. “We canvassed our members and black surfaced as one color everyone agreed on,” said Catalano.

The discussion continued and green and gold became the secondary colors. Catalano explained that as the colors of North Collins Junior-Senior High, they have also been used in the community. “Many of our members attended school here, and for those who have moved in, they had or have children in the school,” she said. Additionally, the school’s mascot, the eagle, adorns the backs of each ambulance. Aside from another tie in to school, Catalano said the eagles also symbolize “Protection, strength and caring.”

Catalano went on to thank the vehicle committee that put together the ambulance package, namely Jacob Miller, Dan Hankey and Ed Weisdel. She also praised the entire squad for working whole days transferring equipment from the old to new ambulances, keeping them in service during the transition. She also reflected on queries from the community how the squad could afford to purchase two new ambulances at once. “We’re using the ‘double F’ plan, she said, Fundraising and Financing.” Catalano said that Community Bank has been a big help in arranging financing and the community has been very generous. This is the first major purchase for the group since it became a fully autonomous body in 2011.

Erie County Emergency Services Chaplain Fr. Joseph Baynes, OFM Conv., was also on hand to offer a blessing. “A blessing is not magic,” he said, “We are just asking the ‘Big Paramedic’ to ride along.” He also reflected on his experience over the years with the North Collins Squad and noted that while they have always been cutting edge in medical service, they are both a team and a family. Fr. Baynes concluded in stating that his inspection of the new ambulances found them state-of-the-art. “They would be useless without the people who staff them—that is the real blessing.”

Keeping somewhat in tradition with fire apparatus dedications, squad members showered the new rigs not with water, but a volley of streamers and confetti. The public was invited to tour the new vehicles and enjoy refreshments in the squad’s hall.

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