Fire & Rescue Gives Ambulance to Small Town in Honduras

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Tela, Honduras Receives Donated Vehicle Worth $15,000

By Carolyn Smith
Staff Writer
St. Michael’s College, The Defender
April 29, 2008

The 2007 Ford F-450 Promedic, left, replaced the 2001 Type 1 Road Rescue Ambulance which was recently donated to Tela, Honduras. Photo courtesy of Andrea Mocozek.

St. Michael’s Fire and Rescue donated a 2001 Type 1 Road Rescue Ambulance to Tela, Honduras earlier this month.

The ambulance, valued at $15,000 arrived in Miami, Fla. last Tuesday. It was shipped to Puerto Cortez, Honduras and then transported to Tela.

Every three years, the Fire and Rescue program receives a new ambulance, said Peter Soons, director of Safety and Security.

With the addition of a 2007 Ford F-450 Promedic last fall, it was decided to donate the old ambulance to Honduras with the help of the Charlotte-Shelburne and Colchester-Milton rotaries, Soons said.

We explored some opportunities to send it down to the Katrina-stricken areas, but that did not materialize,” Soons said. “We know that the rotary clubs have established relationships with cities in Honduras.”

Soons contacted the rotary clubs who have helped with previous donations in order to help decide how, and where the ambulance will be transported and to where, he said.

This is the second ambulance donated to Honduras by Fire and Rescue. The previous ambulance was donated to the town of Chaloma in 2005, Soons said.

Linda Gilbert is a member of the Charlotte-Shelburne Rotary and the Vermont-Hands to Honduras-Tela program, a volunteer group that fundraises and performs various projects in the Tela community.

She said she has worked on projects in the past with the town of Tela.

“There’s a lack of many things there,” she said. “We’ve seen a definite need for something like an ambulance.”

Before the ambulance donations, Tela hospitals transported patients with what they had.

“They were running a van that was hardly in any condition for anyone to use,” said Marilyn Cormier, a Colchester-Milton Rotary member and assistant to the president of the college.

The ambulance includes fire equipment for the Tela community, said sophomore and rescue captain Kristen Dalton.

In the last ambulance donation, rescue equipment was donated with the ambulance, she said. The fire gear will also help to benefit the community, she said.

The compartments of the ambulance will be filled with self -breathing equipment, Soons said.

“We know that a piece of apparatus that we’ve taken out of service will continue to serve people in need,” he said. “The ambulance is essentially a container.”

The ambulance will help transport people quicker and save lives, Gilbert said.

“Having an ambulance will hopefully enable all of the people who need to be transported,” she said.

The drive from Vermont to the Port of Miami takes about 30 hours, Soons said.

James Mount, a Colchester-Milton Rotary member, drove the truck down with two other Rotary members, Soons said.

It costs $2,500 to transport the ambulance, Cormier said. Both rotaries put in a lot of money to transport the ambulance, as well as signing paperwork to have it approved, she said.

The Fire and Rescue program did a good thing by donating the ambulance, Cormier said.

“They do so much good in the community here anyway,” Cormier said. “You couldn’t do much better than that.”

The donation allowed the Fire and Rescue program to serve others on a different scale and further its mission with the community, Dalton said.

“When we first started, we didn’t have these luxuries,” she said. “It puts us back in our place.”