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North Collins ambulances hit the road with a new look

The North Collins Emergency Squad 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 the squad’s 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,” Catalano said.

The discussion continued and green and gold became the secondary colors. Catalano explained that, as the colors of North Collins Junior and Senior High School, these hues 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, that school’s mascot, the eagle, adorns the backs of each ambulance. Aside from another tie-in to the school, Catalano said that the eagles also symbolize “protection, strength and caring.”

Catalano attributed the project’s success to the vehicle committee that put together the ambulance package, namely Jacob Miller, Dan Hankey and Ed Weisdel.

She praised the entire squad for working whole days, to transfer equipment from the old to new ambulances and keep the company in service, during the transition.

Catalano said that community members have asked 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 helped arrange the financing and added that the community has been generous to the organization.

This is the first large purchase for the group, since it became a fully autonomous body in 2011.

Erie County Emergency Services Chaplain Father Joseph Baynes was on hand, to offer a blessing.

“A blessing is not magic,” he said. “We are just asking the ‘big paramedic’ to ride along.” He reflected on his experience serving with the North Collins squad and noted that, while the organization is on the cutting edge, in medical service, its members are a team and a family.

Baynes said that his inspection of the new ambulances found them to be state-of-the-art. “They would be useless without the people who staff them,” he said. “That is the real blessing.”

Keeping in tradition with fire apparatus dedications, the squad members showered the new rigs with a volley of streamers and confetti. The public was invited to tour the new vehicles and partake of refreshments in the squad’s hall.

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