Tag Archives: Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services

Roundup: First Aid, First-Rate Service …

Yesterday’s “Unsung Hero” story brought tears to many readers’ eyes.

It also brought this email, from hero Tucker Peters himself. After saving fellow teenage sailor Mark Adipietro’s life — and reading many heart-warming comments — he wrote one of his own:

“Thank you to everyone for the kind words. I was just one part of an extraordinary team. The true hero though is Mark, who fought like hell. Not many people have the grit or determination to fight back the way he did. He was back on the water with me today — onward and upward we go, forever connected.”

Tucker Peters (left) and Mark Adipietro, on their C420.

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Speaking of first aid and safety:

The fall Emergency Medical Technician/Responder class, sponsored by Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services, begins September 6. It runs through December 20. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays, with some Saturday sessions.

Over the years, at least 14 WVEMS members have gone on to medical school. Others became nurses, physician assistants and paramedics.

The cost ($1250 per Emergency Medical Technician student, $750 per Emergency Medical Responder student) includes classes, book, stethoscope and BP cuff. WVEMS can reimburse for the cost of our class after students are cleared as regular WVEMS members.

Click here for more information, and registration details.

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Speaking of service: Tony Giunta died on Saturday. He lived for many years with kidney disease.

A Staples High School graduate who spent 34 years as a Westport Police Department officer and detective, he was equally dedicated to the Boy Scouts, Kiwanis Club, Staples Key Club and Masonic Lodge #65.

In 1996 he carried the Olympic torch down the Post Road, en route to Atlanta.

A full obituary will be posted later. Visitation is a week from tomorrow (Friday, July 22,  4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A funeral mass will be celebrated Saturday, July 23 (10 a.m., St. Luke Church), with a graveside service to follow at Willowbrook Cemetery.

Tony Giunta, in the Masonic Temple meeting room.

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Once upon a time, there were a few dozen service stations in Westport: up and down the Post Road, on Main Street, Riverside Avenue, even Hillspoint Road.

There are very few now. Most sell only gas (and food).

A shout-out to one of the stalwarts: Westport Center Service. The station directly opposite Playhouse Square went above and beyond when I had a tire issue the other day. They were quick, responsive, and very, very efficient.

it’s been owned by the same man — Robert Walsh — since 1965. In a world of ever-changing businesses, and every-diminishing quality, it’s not hard to see why.

Westport Center Service

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Earthplace’s animal rescue and care is ongoing: 365 days a year.

For the next few days, they seek aid from the community.

A few donors have pledged to match up to $20,000 in funds for Earthplace’s animal projects.

Earthplace notes that $50 buys weekly produce for Animal Hall. $150 provides equipment, while $250 feeds all owls for one month. Click here to help.

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Today’s entitled parking photo comes from downtown.

Apparently all the cars facing the opposite direction — and a double yellow line — mean nothing when there’s an open space to be snagged.

(Photo/Maria Freeman)

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Longtime resident Phyllis Tremonte died last month at her Westport home. She was 100 years old.

Phyllis worked for C.B. Dolge Company for over 20 years. She was a member of the VFW Women’s Auxiliary, and was an avid reader. She loved to travel, and enjoyed cooking, baking and taking care of her family.

Phyllis was predeceased by her husband Thomas Tremonte, son Thomas Tremonte Jr., brother John Borriello and sisters, Mary Carrione and Archangel Argenio.

She is survived by her daughter Loretta Tremonte of Westport, daughter-in-law Peggy Tremonte of Wilmont, New Hampshire, grandchildren Thomas P. (Jessica) Tremonte, Julia A. (Mike) Cushman and Michael J. Tremonte, great-granddaughters Laina and Gianna Tremonte, sister Amy Campanella, and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial Mass will be held on Monday, July 18 (10 a.m., Assumption Church). In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice. Click here to leave online condolences.

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Thanks for all the “full buck moon” photos from last night.  It was quite a sight, as many photographers documented.

Here’s a unique shot. With birds chilling at Compo Beach around 12:30 a.m., it’s a great fit for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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And finally … in honor of July 14:

(Reader support is crucial to “06880.” Please click here to help.)

Roundup: Ambulance, Chickens, Girls Who Code …

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It’s hard to believe, but Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service — the men and women who save lives, patch wounds and do everything in between — have to fund raise for nearly all their needs.

From ambulances to Band-Aids, they depend on all of us.

The Westport Woman’s Club is helping, big-time. Yesterday, Westport’s 115-year-old civic organization made it official: They’re providing $300,000 for a new ambulance.

Half the funds come from the club itself. The other half comes from a member’s anonymous contribution.

That’s just part of the WWC’s good works. They recently awarded $39,000 to Fairfield County non-profits. Soon, they’ll grant $36,000 in scholarships to Staples High School seniors.

WVEMS thanks the WWC. And every Westporter should join “06880” in thanking both import life-saving, and life-changing, groups.

Police, town, EMS and Westport Woman’s Club officials, with a $300,000 check. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Media personality David Briggs has interviewed some heavy hitters in his career.

But, he says, actor/filmmaker/director/martial artist/studio head Michael Jai White was “the most inspirational person” he’s ever talked with.

The InstagramLive interview is deep and intriguing (see below). And you can see — and listen to — White live and in person tomorrow.

He kicks off the 2nd day of the Westport Library’s VersoFest — a music-and-media extravaganza modeled on South by Southwest — with an 11 a.m. keynote address. It’s free, as are nearly all the events starting today.

Click here for a full schedule and more details — including 3 big concerts.

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Bwwaack, bwwaack!

Wakeman Town Farm is crowing about its “egg-cellent” 3-session series: an introduction to raising chickens responsibly at home.

Whether you attend just one, two or all three of the sessions, you’ll  have a chance to bring home 2 Farm-raised chicks, along with a handy starter pack, (feeder, waterer, wood shavings, and 5-pound bag of organic feed).

Instructors include WTF staff and “local chicken experts.”

Session 1 (April 26, 7 p.m., $40): “Introduction and Starting Your Flock” covers how chickens can enrich your life; positive environmental impacts; chicken facts and anatomy; starting a flock, dos and don’ts and more.

Session 2 (May 17, 7 p.m., $55): “Coop, Habitat, Environment and Basic Needs” includes housing and spacing issues, free range pros and cons, local zoning, and creating a happy, stress-free environment.

Session 3 (June 21, 7 p.m., $55): “Products, Maintaining Your Flock, Behavior and Physical Health” offers product recommendations, plus coop maintenance and advice on physical behavior and disease.

Click here to register, and for more information.

Wakeman Town Farm’s mobile chicken coop.

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Westport Sunrise Rotary’s contribution of $5,000 to the only coding school for girls in Afghanistan has gone a long way.

It helped ensure that 160 females ages 15 to 24 had access to computers — including 12 laptops purchased through the grant — in class and at home during COVID lockdowns, then following the rise of the Taliban when the school was closed.

Twenty girls and women have already received remote jobs, ranging from design and animation to website development. They have earned $10,000 — an enormous sum in that impoverished country.

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Zoe Brown is a go-getter.

Since graduating from Staples High School in 2015, and the University of Southern California, she’s been a producer’s assistant on “Love, Victor” and
“Euphoria.” Season 2. Zoe now works for the president of the K Period Media production company.

In her free time she produced a short web series (“LolaMay”) and a short film (“Great White Lies”). In 2020 Zoe co-founded the Mental Health Content Collective.

(Oh, yeah — she’s also been a tutor, restaurant hostess, communications intern for the Two Oh Three lifestyle brand, babysitter, Challah Connection worker, jewelry designer helper, and started a greeting card/poster business).

Now Zoe has joined a few other young creative-types to produce a play.

“Get It Together” is a woman-led comedy/drama about 2 alienated kids finding a sad, imperfect, real romance at the most confusing time of their lives: stuck between home and the rest of the world.

Since premiering at Boston College in 2018, the play has won awards at the NYC Indie and Denver Fringe Festivals.

Zoe and her crew are raising funds to pay for the crew, set, props, marketing and LA’s Zephyr Theater. To help with a tax-deductible contribution, click here.

Zoe Brown

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Westport artist/author/illustrator Elaine Clayton as she discusses those topics (and more) as she celebrates her newest book, “The Way of the Empath: How Compassion, Empathy and Intuition Can Heal Your World.”

The in-person and virtual event is set for the Westport Library on April 20 (7 p.m.).

Her book mentions fellow Westport artist/author Miggs Burroughs’ book “What If?” Clayton says his art “shifts people and communities into a place of compassion.”

No prior experience is needed — just curiosity, and a willingness to be open and have fun. Click here to register, and for more information.

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Nancy (Roach) Tanzer — a longtime social studies teacher at Bedford Middle and Staples High Schools — died March 29 in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She was 92, and suffered from congestive heart failure.

She grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Nancy graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. She played lacrosse there, and was one of the few women enrolled in business classes.

She began her career in advertising and public relations, where she met her first husband, Duane Roach. After starting a family, Nancy earned a master’s degree in education at Fairfield University and became a history teacher.

Throughout her 20-year career in Westport, she impacted the lives of students in the classroom, and through ski trips and outdoor backpacking adventures. She spent her summers racing sailboats on Long Island Sound. When her children were in college, Nancy became a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician.

Nancy enjoyed the peacefulness of Vermont, and had a vacation/retirement home built there. During a sabbatical year from teaching, she lived in her Vermont home and earned a second master’s degree at Dartmouth College. While there she met Henry Tanzer, who shared her love of the Vermont lifestyle.

After retiring to Vermont with Henry, Nancy volunteered reenacting historical events at Billings Farm and Museum, and giving presentations at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science.

She enjoyed playing bridge, was president of the garden club, and an active member and trustee of the senior center.

She skied at Killington and Okemo well into her 70s. Her love of travel brought her to 36 countries, and she saw 5 of the 7 wonders of the modern world.

Nancy was predeceased by Duane Roach and Henry Tanzer. She is survived by her daughter Deborah (Jeff) Lasala of Scituate, Massachusetts; son Jeff (Susan) Roach of St. Charles, Missouri; her granddaughter Mary (Jake) Genthon and her husband Jake of Ballwin, Missouri, and the Tanzer and Benjamin families of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Nancy was passionate about the work of Doctors without Borders, the World Wildlife Fund, and St. Jude’s children’s hospital. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of those causes.

Nancy Tanzer

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Are you a chicken person (see story above) or a turkey person (read on!).

Dianne Behrmann has had 12 turkeys in her Partrick Road back yard. She thinks they live in the nearby wetlands.

“They came running down the driveway one morning, had breakfast and left,” she says.

She took this photo for our “Westport … Naturally” feature, adding: “This is the first time I saw the males all puffed up and making lots of noise. Many gobbles!”

(Photo/Dianne Behrmann)

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And finally … Francisco González, a founding member of Los Lobos, died recently. He was 68, and had been diagnosed with cancer.

The group blended “rock-and-roll and R&B, surf music and soul, mariachi and música norteña, punk rock and country,” their website says. NPR called it “Chicano hippies playing mariachi music.” Click here for a full obituary.

A New Ambulance Costs $300,000. The Westport Woman’s Club Just Bought One.

It’s a little-known fact, but Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services must purchase all their own supplies. They buy their own Band-Aids — and ambulances.

And this part has not gotten the publicity it deserves either: The Westport Woman’s Club has donated $300.000, to fund a new ambulance.

The gift includes $150,000 from the club’s Ruegg Legacy Fund, and $150,000 from an anonymous member.

The Westport Woman’s Club was founded over 100 years ago, to support charitable, educational, cultural and public health services in Westport and surrounding towns.

Among their early projects: cleaning our muddy, horse manure-filled town streets, planting trees and laying sidewalks.

In 1925 the Woman’s Club began a Visiting Nurse Service. They funded it for 35 years, before turning it over to the town.

Its initiatives included free dental, vaccination and well-child clinics; tuberculosis campaigns; free milk distribution, polio saliva tests, and lending sickroom equipment.

Now the Westport Woman’s Club has made another giant contribution to the health and well-being over our town.

Thanks to the Westport Woman’s Club, another one is one the way.

Due to supply chain issues, it will take at least a year for our new ambulance to arrive. But when it does, it will be stationed next to the others at WVEMS headquarters — right across Deadman Brook from the Woman’s Club building on Imperial Avenue.

That’s where their Yankee Doodle Fair is held every year. It’s where their Curio Cottage operates too.

Both are major fundraisers for the WWC. Club members thank everyone for supporting the Fair and Cottage.

And we thank the Westport Woman’s Club — and its anonymous donor — for putting those funds to incredibly good use.

Roundup: Lynsey Addario, EMT Classes …

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As Russian troops advance into Ukraine, Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hicks — both Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographers, and both Staples High School graduates (1991 and ’88, respectively) are there, shooting important images and reporting too.

Today, Addario joined the paper’s podcast, “The Daily.” She’s on near the beginning. Click here to listen. (Hat tip: John Hartwell)

Ukraine president Volodomyr Zelensky (Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)

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Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services always needs help. Here’s your chance.

EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) classes begin March 16. They run through June 30.

They’re thorough. They’re intense. They’re also very important.

Click here for details. And thanks to all who enroll.

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“Westport … Naturally” can never get enough dog-at-the-beach photos. At least until April 1, when the 6-month pooch ban begins. Here’s Axel, yesterday:

(Photo/Zvi Cole)

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And finally … today is the 290th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. It’s also (coincidentally? probably not) the 131st anniversary of the day the state of Washington joined the union.

There aren’t a lot of songs about the Father of Our Country. Or about the Evergreen State. So these will have to do:

Roundup: Senior Center, EMS, Astrophotographers …

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The Senior Center is once again open for programs. After a COVID-induced shutdown in late December, the doors were unlocked today.

Masks are required of everyone.

Pre-registration is required for all programs, including lunch. Click here for details, or call 203-341-5099.

Back in action soon — hopefully.

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Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services always needs help. Here’s your chance.

EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) classes begin March 16. They run through June 30.

They’re thorough. They’re intense. They’re also very important.

Click here for details. And thanks to all who enroll.

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Most Westport Astronomical Society events take place (duh) in the dark.

But this one starts when it’s light.

WAS’ “astrophotographers” host a gallery opening next Saturday (February 5, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.), at the GR Art Gallery (1086 Long Ridge Road, Stamford). It runs through March 26.

Prints are on sale. A portion of proceeds benefits the Astronomical Society.

Up next: “Dark Skies: The Silent Threat of Light Pollution.” The January 31 (7 p.m.) event, with presenters from Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, Connecticut Audubon and United Illuminating, is virtual. Click here for the link.

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“Westport … Naturally” ventures today to Weston. Betsy Pollak shares her shot of her bird feeder, getting good use in this weekend’s storm.

(Photo/Betsy Pollak)

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And finally … Franz Schubert was born today, in 1797. The Austrian composer wrote more than 600 vocal works, 7 symphonies, along with sacred music, operas, and piano and chamber music.

He did it all before dying at just 31, from either typhoid fever or syphilis.

Roundup: Candidates, Moon, Music …

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Worried about traffic? Want more bike lanes? How can we balance growth with greenery? Interested in Westport’s goal of Net Zero by 2050, energy, transportation, waste, water and conservation issues?

Sustainable Westport and Earthplace are sponsoring a pair of “environmental debates,” prior to next month’s election. Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission will meet this Monday (October 18, 6:30 p.m.). Those running for Board of Selectmen will meet on Thursday, October 21 (7 p.m.).

Both events are virtual. Click here for links, and more details. The debates will be recorded, and posted on the Sustainable Westport website for viewing later.

Click here for details on how to watch. Both debates will be recorded and posted to the Sustainable Westport website.

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Sunday is International Observe the Moon Night. The worldwide public event encourages observation and appreciation of (yes) the moon.

The Westport Astronomical Society invites everyone to the observatory on Bayberry Lane this Sunday (8 p.m. — only if skies are clear). It’s a chance to see the moon as you’ve never seen it before. All you have to do is look up.

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Chris Frantz knows music. The Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club artist — and Fairfield resident also knows the importance of introducing new musicians to new audiences.

He’s partnering with the Westport Library on a new series. The inaugural “Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians” concert (December 4) features New York’s Lulu Lewis, and New Haven’s The Problem with Kids Today. Both specialize in punk rock.

This is another music collaboration and production by Verso Studios at the Westport Library and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The series will feature up-and-coming regional, national and international talent, hand-picked by Frantz..

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Chris Frantz (Photo/Ebet Roberts)

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Congratulations to this year’s Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services award winners. They were cited at this week’s annual dinner.

Vice President Larry Kleinman won the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He logged vastly more than the 4,000 volunteer hours required for the honor. Kleinman also received Crew Chief of the Year.

Jenna Baumblatt and Ryan Blake were named Youth Corps Members of the Year. EMT of the Year went to Yves Cantin, an ex-president who stays involved.
Volunteer of the Year is Andrew O’Brien.

Volunteer Service Award winners include James Bairaktaris, Jenna Baumblatt,. Ella Bayazit, Ryan Blake, Michael Burns, Yves Cantin, Andrew Dinitz, Carol Dixon, Danielle Faul, Leah Foodman, Daniel Guetta, Dorothy Harris, Deanna Hartog, Jonathan Huzil, Mary Inagami, Vignesh Kareddy. Larry Kleinman, Eliza Lang, Christopher Moore, Annika Morgan, Christopher Muschett, Andrew O’Brien, Lynette Pineda, April Rademacher, Stewart Reifler, Morgan Rizy, Joshua Rosen, Alice Sardarian, Kathleen Smith, Ian Speers, Swati Sriram, Nancy Surace, Audrone Tarnok and Ekaterina Taylor-Yeremeeva.

Honorees (clockwise, from upper left):Yves Cantin, Jenna Baumblatt, Larry Kleinman, Ryan Blake.

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The Westport Garden Club installed Ginger Donaher as its 52nd president yesterday. She’s new — but her family is very familiar.

Ginger’s mother, Nancy  Gault — yes, of those Gaults — served as president from 1991 to ’93. Ginger’s aunt, Judy Sterling, held the position from 1983 to ’85.

Ginger’s grandmother, Georgiana Gault, was not president. But she was an active Garden Club member from the 1950s until her death in 1994.

Kelly Pollard — Ginger’s’ cousin, and Judy’s daughter — is the club’s current hospitality chair. And — who knows? — perhaps a future president herself.

Westport Garden Club president Ginger Donaher (center) is flanked by (from left) Kelly Pollard and Judy Sterling. (Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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Westporter and animal Reiki volunteer Cathy Malkin is featured in this month’s Connecticut Humane Society spotlight.

She describes herself as “an animal muse who is able to translate animals’ thoughts, feelings and viewpoints so they can be better understood.” For the full Q-and-A, click here.

Cathy Malkin

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Despite the recent deaths of 3 of the their most active, engaged members — and the COVID cancellation of the traditional Great Duck Race and Wine Tasting fundraisers — Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club pushes forward with its mission to give talent, time and money to community and social causes.

Sunrise Rotary’s International Service Committee got approval last week for 2 new projects: sustainable agriculture to benefit Syrian refugees in Jordan, and battling malnutrition through improved food security in Guatemala. Members are also excited about participating in the upcoming Bridgeport schools’ Read Aloud Day.

For more information on Westport Sunrise Rotary, click here.

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Up Next Teens is a Staples High School organization that fights food insecurity in Fairfield County.

They’re sponsoring tomorrow’s Remarkable Theater showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ticket purchasers have the option of contributing $25 to their fundraiser. Click here for tickets. Enjoy the show — and help a great cause.

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It’s mid-October. Most leaves have not yet turned. Here’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, for example, from Weston Road near Lyons Plains.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

A week from now, this will be an entirely different scene.

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And finally … on this day in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company began operation. By 1890 it merged with several other Edison companies, and became the Edison General Electric Company. Today we know it as GE.

 

EMS Goes Off-Roading

Westporters know, admire — and, after needing one, really, really respect — our Volunteer Emergency Medical Services’ ambulances.

But — let’s face it — an ambulance is not always what the doctor ordered.

Coming soon: a WVEMS UTV.

The 4-wheel drive John Deere heavy industrial unit is custom-made for military and emergency services. It goes places a normal ambulance can’t — woods and the beach, for example.

Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services’ new ride.

Its smaller size makes it ideal for getting patients to bigger ambulances too, in crowded situations like the July 4th fireworks and Minute Man Race, or when trees are down after blizzards or hurricanes. 

Residents will see the UTV soon. It’s being outfitted now with a few final items — including the official WVEMS logo.

Its purchase was made possible by the Westport Young Woman’s League — big kudos to them!

Which is a great reminder: All WVEMS equipment comes thanks to the generosity of Westport residents.

New ambulances — the bigger, non-UTV ones — will be needed soon. To donate, click here.

The new UTV is versatile — and there’s plenty of room in the back.

Roundup: Remarkable Playhouse, Pop Art, WVEMS, More


Stage and screen met Saturday night. The Westport Country Playhouse’s gala was held outdoors, at the Remarkable Theater.

Doug Tirola and Mark Lamos’ short-form documentary saluted the WCP’s 90-year history, and many of the artists who have appeared onstage.

The evening included filmed performances by Playhouse alumni like Kate Baldwin, a long with Jane Alexander, Lissy Newman, Christopher Plummer, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Thomas and more.

Don’t worry about the photo below: Everyone was masked, except while eating.

(Photo/Molly Alger)


Speaking of stars:

Paul Newman, I Love Lucy, Martha Stewart, Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Ludlum, Redford, Superman, Dennis the Menace, Great Gatsby, Bewitched, Anne Hathaway, Christopher Lloyd, Helen Hunt and gazillions of others — all lived in Westport, had a show based here, or were otherwise connected to our town.

This multi-media original showing them all is now available exclusively at Westport River Gallery (corner of Riverside Avenue and Post Road West).

It was created by songwriter Frankie Vinci. His rock journey has led him to create raw, colorful pop art/mixed media pieces.


Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service’s annual fundraising drive is underway.

Nearly 100 volunteers and 6 full-time staff provide superb pre-hospital care to anyone living, working or passing through Westport. They give more than 18,000 hours of their time each year, responding to over 2,300 emergency calls. They also teach CPR, EMT and Stop the Bleed classes.

This year has been especially trying. Because of COVID, over 900 calls meant  donning full PPE. Still, they answered the calls.

WVEMS purchases all of the equipment needed — from a box of Band-Aids to an entire, state-of-the-art ambulance. But they could not do it without us.

Tax-deductible donations make it all possible. Click here to help.

So Westport Volunteer EMS can continue to help us.


And finally … did you know that October is National Pasta Month?

 

Emma Heads Straight To EMS

Emma Straight’s interest in medicine was strong. Certified as an EMT when she was just 16, she spent 20 hours a week with the Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service. Her usual shift was 6 to 11 p.m.

In addition, at Staples High School Emma founded and led the Prosthetic Hand Club.

After graduating last spring, she headed west to Santa Clara University. She intended to major in biology. But an Introduction to Public Health class in the first quarter — covering the spread of disease, our healthcare system and the socioeconomic impact of illness — sparked her interest.

She switched majors, to public health.

Emma Straight

Emma had no idea of the public health crisis just around the corner. But when her college shut down in mid-March and she returned home, she knew exactly what to do.

On March 16, Emma headed to WVEMS. She’s been working 3 shifts a week ever since.

“I always felt comfortable there,” she says of the Jesup Road headquarters next to the police station. “It was a calming place for me.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it still is.

Despite the public health crisis, it’s also a very safe place, Emma emphasizes.

“I’m really, really proud of our leaders, like Marc Hartog and Kevin Doherty,” she says. “They prioritize our safety, and give us a lot of up-to-date information. We have to be safe. If we get sick, we can’t help anyone.”

The safety protocol begins with detailed questions asked by dispatchers, for every call. Many are now COVID-related. EMTs must be certain of every situation, before they arrive.

Once on scene, EMTs keep their distance while asking their screening questions. If a patient shows symptoms of the virus, they don protective gear.

But, Emma says, “Our patient care is the same as always. It hasn’t changed at all.

“We’re super cautious,” she reiterates. “We don’t know who has been exposed to what. Everyone is on edge. But there are so many precautions, we feel good.”

The public has been great about donating masks too, Emma notes.

When she was in high school, Emma felt good about giving back through WVEMS. Now rather than just sitting home, she feels “really, really good. I feel like I’m really able to do something, at a very tough time.”

Memorial Day EMTs

“06880” reader Gladys Handelman just sent this Memorial Day story along.  It’s definitely worth waiting for:

On Monday, Gladys was watching the parade at a private home next to Town Hall.  She was on one side of a low stone wall; a senior woman was on the other, with her adult daughter.

Suddenly the daughter yelled:  “Mom, are you alright?”  The mother was standing but her head was down, her eyes closed.

The daughter shouted several more times, urgently.  There was no response.

At that moment in the parade, the Emergency Medical Service trucks passed by.  The daughter flagged one down.

The truck stopped.  Within moments, the mother was on a stretcher — whisked away quickly, carefully and compassionately.

Few people saw what happened — but that’s the way it is with Westport EMS. 

Even in the midst of the Memorial Day parade, they don’t take holidays.