Talk about privately funding a public service.
In their mission of supplying emergency medical attention and transportation to injured or ill people in the Wilton area, the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. (WVAC) has seen a call volume increase of 9-percent annually–and yet less than 10-percent of operating costs are provided from town funds. When you put it in the perspective that your life may depend on the generosity of private donations from town residents to the WVAC, it can make your heart skip a bit–or at least make you catch your breath.
“People are under the assumption that we are funded by the town like fire and police. We were never in the town budget except for the workman’s comp,” explains Nancy Capelle, who volunteers as an EMT with also helps as the Corps’ PR chair. The Town of Wilton pays the WVAC worker’s compensation insurance premium–because it’s required to by CT State statute–and less than 10-percent of WVAC’s operating expenses. The remaining 90-percent of expenses needs to be covered through donations.
Like other organizations, WVAC kicks off its annual fundraising drive during this time of year, and Wilton residents will be receiving letters in their mailboxes during the next few weeks. They’re hoping that Wiltonians will remember to support them as an independent, non-profit organization, and one that’s staffed by volunteers. Considering that those volunteers donate 18,500 service hours per year to the people of Wilton, it’s hard to even put a price tag on the value the town receives.
WVAC is a team comprised of more than 50 certified Emergency Medical Technicians and Emergency Medical Responders. Not only did they respond to 1,350 emergency calls in 2012, they’ve been quietly maintaining their presence and participation within the community.
“We provide complimentary ‘Hands-Only’ CPR training to residents, and community demonstrations on CPR and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and are on standby for assistance at local sporting and civic events; we conduct safety education for many town organizations, such as the newly started SafeRides; and we write a monthly health awareness column in the Wilton Bulletin, helping to educate residents on a variety of important, timely health-related subjects,” Capelle explained. “We’re always around for Wilton residents in their time of need, but equally important is that we’re very involved in the community and town events. Of course we always prefer to see people when it isn’t an emergency and we hope people keep saying ‘Hi!’ and getting to know us better.”
WVAC has provided the primary emergency medical service in town for the last 37 years. “We’re on call for Wilton’s families 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
What are contributions needed for? “We needed to purchase a new ambulance. Donations cover that as well as maintenance of our vehicles. We need to maintain and update our gear, making sure that our medical and communication equipment is technologically advanced. It covers continuing education and training for our members as well,” Capelle explained.
WVAC is a not for profit 501(c)(3), independent, tax-exempt, charitable organization. All donations are tax-deductible. Please help keep this vital community service strong by considering a generous donation today.
Donations to WVAC can be made payable to Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. and sent to: P.O. Box 216, Wilton.