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Contact: John Harlan Warren, External Affairs Officer, 718-354-4608
Twin W First Aid Squad (FAS), located in West Windsor, N.J., will donate an ambulance to the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area on Friday, March 22. The press conference announcing the donation will take place at 11:30 A.M. at FAS headquarters, located at 21 Everett Drive in West Windsor.
"Two million visitors a year come to Sandy Hook," said Unit Coordinator Pete McCarthy. "When you have that many visitors, some of them need medical help from time to time, including life-threatening injuries. This donation will help our staff save lives. It's terrific and we're very grateful."
Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh of West Windsor will be in attendance, along with National Park Service (NPS) representatives and other township and county officials.
Chief Michael Leahy learned about Sandy Hook's need for an ambulance. Before Hurricane Sandy, neighboring boroughs had provided quick responses to NPS calls for assistance. The storm put a severe strain on outside emergency services, requiring the park to need its own ambulance. Sandy Hook had been using an ambulance on loan from another source.
Twin W FAS had a ten-year-old ambulance, which remained in good running order, as an extra asset. Leahy reached out to Sandy Hook Fire Chief Timothy Regan last month to take a look. Regan had also received generous offers from other townships, but Twin W offered the vehicle with the least wear and tear. Leahy and Deputy Chief Arjune Kalawar made the case for the donation to their board of trustees, which approved giving the ambulance to the NPS.
In addition to the ambulance, Twin W will donate a stair chair, which can be used for transporting patients without using a stretcher.
Twin W FAS is an all-volunteer squad, currently with 16 members, which has served the West Windsor community since 1972.
Gateway's Sandy Hook Unit will reopen to the public on Wednesday, May 1, with beaches B, Gunnison and North reopening by Memorial Day. Other beaches are still being cleared of damage from Hurricane Sandy and will reopen at a later date.
About Gateway National Recreation Area
Established in 1972, Gateway National Recreation Area offers more than 26,000 acres of marshes, wildlife sanctuaries and recreational athletic facilities, miles of sandy beaches; indoor and outdoor classrooms; picnicking and camping areas, as well as historic structures and military installations, airfields, a lighthouse, and adjacent waters around New York harbor. The park offers urban residents in two states a wide range of recreational opportunities year round. With more than nine million visitors a year, it is the third most visited national park in the country. For information about Gateway's upcoming public programs, see the park's Web site at http://www.nps.gov/gate/index.htm