Called by several speakers “a model emergency agency,” the Middleburgh Emergency Volunteer Ambulance Corps celebrated a half-century of service Saturday.
The 50-year observance on the lawn of the high school offered many activities, but most focused on MEVAC’s humble beginnings translating into decades of success.
Appreciation was the message Saturday afternoon.
“You’ve got to say thank you to the people who dedicated their lives to this,” said Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe.
MEVAC started out because of sheer necessity in 1968.
As in many small towns years ago, the local funeral home––in Middleburgh, Palmer and Shaylor––provided ambulance service. But new state regulations in the late ’60s prohibited funeral homes from providing emergency care.
The Middleburgh Town Board called a special meeting in 1968.
“We started with two. . .just two people,” MEVAC President Sigrid Wood told Saturday’s audience.
“But two weeks later, we had 35.”
The squad started out with a 1969 Plymouth station wagon that Palmer and Shaylor used, and several years later, MEVAC purchased its first ambulance.
Serving Middleburgh, Fulton, Broome and Blenheim, volunteers answered 17,000 calls since the beginning, Ms. Wood said.
Following Ms. Wood, speaker after speaker praised MEVAC volunteers’ dedication.
Assemblyman Chris Tague presented Ms. Wood with a resolution from the Assembly recognizing MEVAC’s service.
“People never realize how important you are till you’re needed,” Mr. Tague said.
“I wish you another 50 years of success in Middleburgh.”
Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile noted volunteers’ extra effort to step up over the years.
“Thank you for coming,” Mayor Avitabile told the crowd, “and a special thank you to MEVAC.”
Gen Overholt of the next-door Scho-Wright Ambulance Service said she was proud to work alongside “such professional volunteers.
“You’re so dedicated, so kind.”
Mike Hartzel, director of the county Emergency Services Office, works with all rescue squads and praised MEVAC as one of the best.
“I’m happy we can model every agency after MEVAC,” he said.
MEVAC operates under the license of Dr. Joseph Luz, who said he was proud to help.
“My license is in very good hands with MEVAC,” Dr. Luz said.
“You’re an extraordinary agency, and I wish you all the best for 50 more years.”
Middleburgh Supervisor Pete Coppolo presented Ms. Wood with a Board of Supervisors resolution declaring “MEVAC Appreciation Month.”
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Besides praise for MEVAC, Saturday’s celebration offered a variety of activities:
The Med-Flight helicopter, Sheriff’s Office child ID, MEVAC history, a juggler, music by Joey Zeh, Cobleskill Police Officer Chris Sniffin and his dog, Wilson, and late in the day, fireworks.