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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.

— “I love giving back to the community, and any change I can make to somebody’s condition makes my time completely worth it,” Ammann said. “There is not a single routine call. That is what I love about going to work every day — I never know what is going to happen, but I have the opportunity to save someone’s life.”

CAVAC volunteers can be as young as 14, as a member of the “student corps.” Widrick said there isn’t an age limit, as long as the volunteer is able to adequately perform their assigned tasks. The minimum requirement of each volunteer is two six-hour shifts per month, although some are known to far exceed the 12-hour obligation.

The headquarter location boasts a comfortable living area and ample lodging for those serving overnight.

CAVAC also offers CPR training, as well as car seat checks and installation, and awards a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating student from Cazenovia High School each year.

Ammann, who first started at CAVAC as a member of the student corps is regarded as a “legacy member.” His grandfather was one of the original founders of the organization in 1974, his father serves as a paramedic and his mother as a nurse. In addition to working at CAVAC, Ammann, a certified EMT, serves as a lieutenant for the Cazenovia Volunteer Fire Department, volunteers for the Minoa Fire Department and works as a 911 operator.

Widrick moved to Cazenovia with his wife 12 years ago, and has four young children. He said his first encounter with CAVAC came as a civilian when he first arrived in the area; his young daughter had a febrile seizure and required medical assistance. Since then, he has tried to give back to the organization and community, hoping to “pay it forward” and assist any way he can. Last year, Widrick logged 550 hours for CAVAC.

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