03/14/12 1:00pm

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Red Cross ambulance volunteers outside their headquarters. The squad is now the town's Emergency Medical Services Department.

As expected, the Town of Shelter Island received a check this month from the American Red Cross for $200,968, cash that the formerly private Red Cross ambulance squad had on hand when the town formerly acquired it on January 1, 2012.

It had been uncertain exactly how much the town would receive until the Red Cross could formally audit and close the books on the only ambulance squad it owned anywhere in the U.S.

Supervisor Jim Dougherty predicted in late December that the cash —  raised through private donations to support the Red Cross ambulance — would amount to about $200,000, a bit more than he’d estimated when he first announced an agreement between the Red Cross and the town late last summer.

His office released a copy of the March 9 check on Wednesday, March 14.

The money was to be placed in a capital reserve fund created late last year by the Town Board to pay for equipment and new ambulances when they become necessary. The board is hoping that private fundraising continues to support the ambulance squad even though it is now a town department.

Veteran volunteers from the Red Cross chapter created a fundraising organization in December to continue the effort. Called the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation, it is a registered 501c-3 New York Charitable Corporation and IRS approval has been sought for tax-exempt status.

According to Sam Case, a longtime ambulance volunteer who is chairman of the new foundation, it “will serve the community by providing financial support to promote the recruitment, training and retention of volunteers and to secure new equipment, primarily ambulances.”

The founders of the organization are Mr. Case; Judy Sherman, its secretary/treasurer; and its directors Ben Jones, Jim Preston and Mark Kanarvogal. All have been active ambulance volunteers for years.

01/03/12 10:33am

FILE PHOTO | Red Cross volunteers outside their headquarters in 2007.

Taking the final steps to prepare for the official transfer of the Red Cross ambulance corps to town ownership, the Shelter Island Town Board at its year-end meeting on December 29 appointed 24 ambulance corps volunteers, created a capital reserve fund for the newly formed Emergency Medical Service and ratified an inter-municipal cooperation agreement with the Village of Dering Harbor to provide ambulance service there.

The formerly private Red Cross all-volunteer ambulance service and all its assets were officially acquired by the town as of January 1, 2012, a move prompted by the national Red Cross’s desire to divest itself of its last remaining ambulance service in the country.

The capital reserve fund was created by the Town Board to receive the cash it expects to acquire in the transfer to pay for new ambulances and other equipment. It also will be the repository for private donations, which were the sole source of the squad’s revenues before the town acquired it.

Late last year, Supervisor Dougherty estimated that the capital expenditure balance “seems to be close to $200,000,” but that number remained unconfirmed. Ms. Lewis said that once the amount of money to be transferred into the account is known, it will be made public.

The squad’s voluntary CEO under the Red Cross, Joyce Bausman expanded from the audience on Ms. Lewis’s remarks. “We probably won’t know the definite amount until March,” once the accounting with the National Red Cross is completed.

A full account of the December 29 Town Board meeting will appear in the January 5, 2012 edition of the Shelter Island Reporter.