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The call of duty

CAVAC President Gregory Widrick, right, stands beside Chief of Operations Ryan Ammann in front one of the volunteer organization’s two ambulances, May 15 at the headquarter location on Nelson Road in Cazenovia.

CAVAC President Gregory Widrick, right, stands beside Chief of Operations Ryan Ammann in front one of the volunteer organization’s two ambulances, May 15 at the headquarter location on Nelson Road in Cazenovia. Photo by Pierce Smith.

— In its 38th year of operation, the Cazenovia Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps recently appointed two of its youngest officials, 41-year-old President Greg Widrick and 24-year-old Chief of Operations Ryan Ammann.

After assuming the position May 1, Widrick has dedicated himself to enhancing residents’ knowledge of CAVAC and increasing the local volunteer workforce.

“We will be doing a lot of internal review and statistical analysis in the coming months. I think a lot of people in this community haven’t had the experience of needing CAVAC — I don’t think they don’t appreciate our services — I just don’t think they’re aware of all we offer,” Widrick said. “I had been a member for about a year when I realized not only there was a deficit of members, but we needed more medically-trained members. You don’t need to be retired, you don’t need to have nothing else going on. It can be part of your active lifestyle. We’re here to help the community. There are a lot of things happening here, and they’re all great.”

Along with a volunteer staff of 50 and full-time staff of 12, Widrick and Ammann oversee day-to-day operations at the organization’s headquarters at 106 Nelson Road in Cazenovia.

CAVAC offers walk-in services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a professional paramedic on staff at all times. The locally-based physician can offer medical advice, suggest further treatment and arrange trips to hospitals in one of the organization’s two ambulances, equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology. A $57,000 state grant recently awarded to CAVAC allowed the purchase of two “LifePak” heart monitors and defibrillators, which can record patient’s status and send vital information to the hospital en route.

Ammann and Widrick are in the midst of converting much of CAVAC’s communications technology from analog to digital. Fielding about 828 calls in 2011, the two are gearing up for another busy season and have issued a call for additional staff, hoping to attract new drivers, dispatchers and medically-trained personnel as well as general volunteers.

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