The Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad has taken a very big step, launching its first capital campaign in 50 years.
The effort is well on its way, with community leaders and one corporation contributing $4.3 million of the $5 million goal.
A volunteer fundraising committee comprised of former Mayor Jordan Glatt; Brett Haire, president of the Other Fellow First Foundation; and corporate partner Kevin Cummings, CEO of Investors Savings, is leading the effort.
The Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad is “all about helping someone else; members don’t know how to go about asking for help” for themselves, said Haire, adding, “I hope the town extends itself in a big way, when asked” to contribute.
After almost a year of one-on-one efforts, the committee has raised $4.3 million and now is asking residents to dig deep and support the squad.
The leadership gifts, which came from community leaders and one corporation, Investor’s Bank, are making it possible for the squad to move forward with plans for a new headquarters designed to meet Summit’s 21st century emergency care needs. A spring groundbreaking is planned for the new building on the present Elm Street site.
Glatt is gratified but not surprised about the $4 million contributed by Summit’s philanthropic neighbors in little more than a year. “During my years as mayor, I learned that Summit could always count on the support of its people when a true need arises,” he said. “The generosity of our families and businesses is inspiring, and I have to believe that there is much-needed community-wide public support for the squad out there, too, to help reach the $5 million goal.”
Haire said that while Summit is close to New York City, has good schools and more, the city is so much more than its location and infrastructure. Equally “important is what made Walter Long a beloved mayor. He used to say, ‘People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.’” Summit residents care and proof of that are the many squad members “who have been giving for 52 years. I hope the town will take this opportunity to show how much they care by supporting this very important initiative,” Haire said.
Operating under the motto, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” the squad’s trained volunteers provide round-the-clock emergency services 365 days a year to Summit residents and visitors. They are present at sporting events and street fairs, respond to calls at private homes, businesses, and to traffic accidents, no matter the weather. All of their services are provided at no cost to taxpayers.
The squad's current home on Elm Street is outmoded, overcrowded and too small to garage modern ambulances, much less provide required decontamination facilities essential for volunteers, or house updated life-saving equipment and shelter squad members on overnight shifts during weather-crisis events and other community emergencies.
During construction, which should take about a year, the squad will relocate to temporary facilities in space offered by Salerno Duane to ensure seamless continuity of services and operations.
Squad President John Christmann said, “We are proud to be Summit’s first responders and thank you neighbors for your support over these many years.”