Warwick EMS Members Thrive Through Mentorship, Friendship

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Story by Sara Paul

     Vincent Cannavale is 29 years old, lives in Albany, and has been a Warwick EMS Ambulance Corps member for 11 years (the dutiful EMT returns every weekend to visit his parents and work his volunteer shift). Vincent is also a full-time crime analyst for New York State.

     Emmett Pellegrino is 18 years old, lives in Warwick, and is a former Junior Corps member who just started riding with the senior Corps a few months ago. Emmett also works as an assistant at a funeral home in Warwick.

     While the two gentlemen are quite different, they have the Warwick EMS in common and are a fine example of the successful mentorship that the Corps provides for new members.

     “I wanted to start going on calls and went through orientation, but I was really nervous because I didn’t know what I was getting into,” admits the young Emmett, who, after joining the Warwick Ambulance Corps at age 16, knew things like basic first aid and how to take vitals, but had no experience responding to an actual emergency call where people’s lives were on the line.

     With support and education through the EMS mentoring, new members like Emmett benefit from counsel from veteran members with a few years under their medical belts.

     “If a call is not that serious, I take the time to explain things we are doing. However, if it’s of a more serious nature, I just tell them what I need, but go over it after and ask if they have questions,” notes Vinnie, who values the post-call discussions back at the Bay, when the group of emergency services members talk about why they made certain decisions, used a certain piece of equipment, or chose one hospital over another.

     Veteran member Breda, who is diligently preparing for her RN state exam, commented that, “Vinnie and I are always going over our calls. I love working with him, and he has really helped me with studying and becoming a better responder.”

Volunteer Training Equals Resume Building

     Both young Emmett and a wee bit older Vinnie agree that their training with the Warwick Ambulance Corps has provided them with valuable job and life experience,

     “This job not only helps your community, but it’s also great training for either advancement in emergency medical services or other types of medical professions because of the volume and variety of the calls,” Vinnie commented.

     Emmett, a January 2020 early graduate from Warwick Valley High School, recently completed the six-month EMT course with Orange County and looks forward to working both as a both a paid full-time EMT, as well as a volunteer with Warwick.

     Another young member, EMT Eric Fierstein, 20, agrees, “I have benefited from the Corps because they sent me to EMT class, which helped my get a job in the field.”

Friendships Made

     “From the time that I began riding on calls, I met a few people who have really helped me and guided me along the way. Dennis English (EMT and driver), Chris Kane (driver) as well as Tammy Schuler (EMT) have always been there for me both on and off duty, and offer advice as well as answer any questions that I have. They see that I am a driven and respectful person who has an interest in the field. Without them, I would not be as confident and competent as I am now, being a relatively new member to the emergency services field. I would consider them all as friends, because coworkers are only there during work hours,” Emmett said.

     Eric confirms, “I have made a good amount of friendships in the Corps. Since it’s a volunteer agency, you tend to work with a lot of different people and not just one partner.”

Anyone interested in joining the Warwick EMS should call 986-4136, e-mail warwickems@gmail.com, visit www.warwickems.com, or stop by the Bay at 146 South St. Ext.

Interested individuals are also urged to try the Corps Ride-Along Program to see what the volunteer opportunity entails.

Junior Corps members are welcome and must be 14 to 17 years of age or a graduating senior.

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