Town receives $200,968 from national Red Cross as part of ambulance deal

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.