Place Where You Live:

Maplewood, New Jersey

In the first aid squad building, there is a frame on the wall of the first call sheet. The document is dated June 14th, 1958. At 1:30 AM that morning, volunteers responded to that first call. Following a long tradition of over fifty years of volunteerism, I am proud to be able to say that I am one of the current volunteers. And as one of them, I am concerned about the declining state of affairs at the squad.

There is fear that our streak of volunteerism may end soon; recently, we have had trouble with membership. Just last year, a member who rode with us for over twenty-five years unexpectedly resigned. He was the caring instructor that held extra study sessions, the EMT that knew every skill in the book, and the nice guy that I ate breakfast with. The entire squad is affected when good members, like him, leave. The fact of the matter is, too many experienced people are resigning while not enough new people are joining. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult to staff around the clock shifts with our resources stretched so thin. I understand that perhaps responding to emergency situations and seeing people at their worst may not be comfortable to everyone. I have certainly felt discomfort at the sight of blood, or seeing patients that I know probably will not survive. For this reason, we at the squad are grateful for every volunteer we have. But then it is also unfair to have certain members always on duty: members who have the most selfless intentions and deserve better.

These outstanding people want to serve the community as much as possible and care deeply for others. But who will care for them? What if they fall ill? How can a first aid squad, or any organization for that matter, function if its membership continues to dwindle due to the stresses placed on its people? The answer is, it cannot. And for this reason, volunteers are desperately needed.