The History of EAVES

The History of EAVES Ambulance

In late 1972, during a break in a "U-MET" (old Emergency Medical Technician) Course, three assistant instructors were discussing the long response time of the professional ambulance service to the eastern suburbs.  In life threatening emergencies there was only so much fire department rescue squads could do until the ambulance arrived.  So the three instructors, Ray Payne, Henry Hutt and Bill Lewis Sr. decided to try and do something about it.  They held a meeting a the home of Henry Hutt.  Besides the original three, Mrs. Lee Hunt and Mrs. Wendy Payne were in attendance.

It was decided that Bill Lewis would contact the Chief of the East Syracuse Vol.  Fire  Fire Department, the Officers of its rescue squad, the Mayor and other officials.  The idea of a volunteer ambulance corps met with great approval, especially since the number of rescue calls was increasing each year.  It was learned that other authorities would have to approve the plan such as Onondaga Fire Control, which is the licensee of the F.C.C. for emergency radio communications in the county, and Mr. William Barnes Sr., head of Eastern Ambulance Services, which had the agreement in the county.  Mr Michael Waters, Onondaga County Fire Coordinator and Mr Barnes were both agreeable and attended many meetings later to make suggestions and steer the group in the right direction while organizing plans.  All that was left was community support...

With this support and information, the group met again at the Hutt home to plan the best way to get organized and see if the community would support the group.  It was decided to write a letter explaining the plan, and send copies to all the fraternal organizations in the East Syracuse Fire Protection District asking their support and attendance at a  meeting to hear the groups goals.

The group hoped for attendance of two representatives from each of the invited organizations.  The enthusiasm of the attendees seemed to increase after it was explained the reasons for forming the volunteer ambulance corps.

  1. A much faster response time would be possible
  2. The personnel would have the same training as the professional service now available
  3. Since much of the district's population was elderly and on a fixed income, the free service would be appreciated.
  4. Fire Dept. rescue calls would be reduced considerable.

These were a few of the most important reasons.

This gathering turned out to be an organizational meeting.  A committee was formed to plan the necessary steps to form a volunteer ambulance corps.  The committee was comprised of:

  • Chairman --------- William Lewis Sr.
  • Vice Charmian -- Ray Payne
  • Secretary --------- Barb Quonce
  • Treasurer --------- Dawn Waltman

Committees were formed, more contacts were made, and talks given to clubs, organizations, and any group that showed an interest.  Finally enough interest was shown, and sufficient qualified personnel had agreed to join the corps.  It was felt, with the backing they had, they could proceed forward.  According to the by-laws and standard operating procedures that had been approved, an election of officers was held with the following results:

  • President --------------------- William Lewis Sr.
  • Vice President -------------- Joseph Paone
  • Treasurer --------------------- Dawn Waltman
  • Secretary --------------------- Barb Quonce
  • Council Members ----------- Henry Hutt     
                                               R. Joseph Carey     
                                               Ray Payne
                                               Joseph Muench
                                               Robert Briggs
  • Board Members at Large - Thomas Shallcross     (1 year)
                                               Robert Ellison             (2 years)
  • Schedulers ------------------- Lee Hunt
                                               Dawn Waltman

Procedures were set up for training and upgrading.  Agreements for backup support were established with the fire dept, Fire Control, and Eastern Ambulance.  The Village of East Syracuse allowed us to use space in the basement of the Municipal Building as head quarters.  This space was furnished with furniture including beds for overnight crews through donations by supporters.  The Fire Department allowed our ambulance in half of one bay on the main floor of the Municipal Building.  With about eight dollars, EAVES put our ambulance in service on November 1, 1973.

Donations from private individuals and businesses of the area put some operating funds in our treasury.  An annual door to door fund drive was planned.  The Municipal Building basement proved to be damp and we accepted part of a bay and room for beds in the fire department's Station #2 on Route 298 as our next home.  Our membership grew and by June 1974, our corps boasted that 70% of our 74 active members were trained as emergency medical technicians (EMTs).  Our plan was to have a  new quarters, and a new ambulance equipped with coronary care equipment.

We realized one of our dreams, when the Town of Dewitt offered to give us the site of their water department building on Chrysler Drive, which had been partially destroyed by fire and an explosion.  Members of the corps pitched in and cleaned up the site and all reusable materials were salvaged.  The members, along with volunteers from the community and a local Naval Reserve unit of Seabees rebuilt the basic building that housed two ambulances, a corps room, sleeping quarters for two full crews and a kitchen.

Another ambulance had been added and was equipped with coronary care equipment, financed with the aid of a grant from the Rosamond Gifford Charitable Corporation in 1975.  By this time our medics, among the the first trained through NYS courses in the upstate area, were serving the community.  In the spring of 1977 another grant from the Rosamond Gifford Charitable Corporation allowed us to acquire another ambulance complete with coronary equipment.  In 1983, two more bays were added to the west side of our building, one to house a third ambulance and the other for storage area.

In the summer of 1985, an addition of 26' x 60' was planned and added to the rear of the existing building.  This gave the corps three new bed rooms and a large meeting/training area.  Since then, many training sessions have been conducted, not only for EAVES personnel but for members of other organizations who were in need of skill training or updating.

EAVES now owns and operates four state of the art advanced life support ambulances staffed with paramedics, a squad and rehab trailer that travels around the county supporting fire scene operations by evaluating and rehabilitating firefighters while they work at strenuous operations.  We now offer CPR and first aid classes to the public and are often seen in the community sharing our message of injury prevention and supporting local business at safety fairs.  As our call volume continues to grow we foresee more growth at EAVES.  Future plans call for another expansion of our building and the creation of a special operations unit that will include a EMS bike team along with our Rehab Unit.

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