In its short, 15-year-history, Glen Cove Volunteer EMS has increased its number of calls from a few hundred to over 2,000 emergencies per year. And while some of its original members, who served their community for thousands of hours, have moved on to other duties or other states, an original "founding member", the ambulance known as EMS-3, has stood by and taken care of our growing population.
But after a decade and a half, and close to 60,000 miles of service, it was time for EMS-3 to retire. With grant money and matching city funds in place, Glen Cove EMS made plans to decommission EMS-3, and replace it with a newer, updated ambulance (also known as a "bus") that had more advanced equipment in a larger, more comfortable patient compartment.
Meanwhile, William Schmidt, a former chief of the Glenwood Fire Company who had relocated to Southport, North Carolina, returned to his North Shore roots on a special visit. Faced with limited funds, Chief Schmidt was looking for donations of equipment to start up an ambulance corps in his new community. When he visited with the Glen Cove Fire Department, he was told of EMS plans to replace their aging ambulances.
Mr. Schmidt then met with Glen Cove EMS Chief Tony Jimenez, who was more than eager to see EMS-3 continue its life-saving role in another community rather than landing unceremoniously on a scrap heap. Paul Lottes, an EMT-D and firefighter in Glen Cove, stepped in and volunteered to drive the ambulance down to North Carolina. Glen Cove Fire Deputy Chief Joseph Biondo quickly added his talents as a relief driver. Chief Schmidt agreed to cover all expenses to transport the ambulance down south.
EMS Chief Jimenez then approached Mayor Tom Suozzi, and with his blessing on the donation, the old EMS-2 was gassed up, boarded by its last crew of Lottes and Biondo, and taken to its new home on Friday, Aug. 6.
But there was still one last poignant detail. Back in 1984, an ambulance fund had been set up by the Special Police prior to the formation of the Glen Cove EMS. Tina Tenke, who was the first female Advanced Medical Technician in the department, and who was also working toward the formation of EMS, died suddenly and unexpectedly. The department decided to rename the fund the Christina A. Tenke Memorial Ambulance Fund in her honor.
When this first ambulance was put into service, a plaque was installed on its side dedicating it to the memory of this young technician. This was the ambulance that came to be known as EMS-3. Since it was now decommissioned and leaving Glen Cove, the plaque, still on its side after 15 years, was removed.
This fall, the City of Glen Cove and the current members of Glen Cove Volunteer Emergency Medical Services will present the restored plaque to Ms. Tenke's family.