Help is just a phone call away

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Feb. 14, 2013
Members of the Windsor Volunteer Ambulance, Inc., stand in front of the group's newest ambulance. Photo by Colin Rajala.
Members of the Windsor Volunteer Ambulance, Inc., stand in front of the group's newest ambulance. Photo by Colin Rajala.

An older man alone at home calls the ambulance because he does not feel quite right, which prompts an emergency medical technician and a paramedic to respond to the home. It takes more than 10 minutes to get inside because a storm has dumped about 2 feet of snow outside. Once they get inside, the duo performs an electrocardiogram and quickly discovers that the man is having a massive heart attack, one that could prove fatal. The paramedic tends to the man, calming him while the EMT clears the driveway so they can transport him to the hospital in time to save his life. This is a true story.

Windsor Volunteer Ambulance, Inc., volunteer Chief of Operations Daniel Savelli received a letter from the man thanking him for saving his life. Scenarios like that are all too real for many members of the WVA, but the times you receive the letter in the mail or the “thank you” from a family member in the hospital make the job worth it, according to Savelli.

“It’s rewarding," said Savelli. "Sometimes the best care isn’t tools or medicine, it really is just talking to people, assuaging their fears, assuaging their pain, and oftentimes you can do that by just talking to them. A calm demeanor with a reassuring tone can go a long way. If you can calm them, redirect them and reassure them that you are there to help them and you are going to do the best that you can for them, that’s really the best medicine there is.”

The WVA is one of the busier ambulance services in the state, with more than 60 members responding to more than 4,000 calls in Windsor’s 30-square-mile area. Outside of the emergency response, the primarily volunteer group offers courses like EMT, EMR and CPR, as well as recertification opportunities. The group hopes to have a larger presence in the community, continuing to participate and hold more community outreach events.

“The best part about living and helping people in this town is not so much helping them on their worst day, but seeing them after the fact and having them thank you for helping them through their worst day,” said Brandon Mauro, a volunteer since 2010.

Chris Walker, a volunteer since 2006, grew up in town and participated in a variety of organizations before joining the WVA. He said his decision to join was validated after rendering care to an unresponsive person at Geissler’s. He saved the man’s life and received a call the next day from a friend asking, “Do you know who took care of the man?” Walker was the one who saved his friend’s grandfather, and as small worlds collided, Walker was a member of the man’s church.

“Joining was a chance to give back to the community and help everyone in town,” Walker said. “We have a community-oriented feel here. We know each other well and try to be like a big family.”

For more information on becoming a volunteer, visit or call 860-688-8244. Visitors are also encouraged to stop by and check out the building located at 20 William St., in Windsor.

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