Woodstock Ambulance coordinator retires after 12 years of service
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | March 18,2013
WOODSTOCK — Woodstock Ambulance Coordinator Patricia Cassidy joked with her colleagues Friday that now she’ll be sleeping in. The staff at the Emergency Services office held a special retirement party in her honor for 12 years of service and six years as director.
“I’ve been working with Patty for 12 years,” Dispatch Coordinator Penny Davis said. “She stands out as a volunteer. She’s very intelligent and great with people. She’s more willing to help anyone.”
Cassidy began her career in para-medicine in the late 1990s when she decided to enroll in an EMT class at the Barnard Fire Department. She developed a liking for the job and joined the Woodstock Ambulance Department as a volunteer in 2001.
Cassidy kept at her profession, attended paramedics school and eventually replaced outgoing coordinator Bill Mauldin in 2007. She thought her expertise could help others and that was the primary goal that sustained her over the years, she said.
“The important thing was to try to bring everyone together (who) are working in the same arena,” Cassidy said. “We have three ambulances with up to 30 volunteers on the roster and at any given time, people are coming in and out for help. I advocated and supported everyone through their own training and made sure that they were performing at high levels of service.”
The most challenging event during her tenure was managing services during Tropical Storm Irene. Cassidy said the ambulance service receives an average of two calls per day, but in the weeks after Irene they had as many as 30 calls a week and staff were working up to 100 hours a week. They conducted dozens of rescues, transports and evacuations and more.
Cassidy said one of her final tasks as ambulance coordinator is to update the ambulance service emergency manual, a process that began after Irene a year and a half ago. She officially retires April 3 and will volunteer as an EMT on a per diem basis and as a state medical examiner for Orange and Windsor Counties.
“One of the difficulties of my job is that it’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You never know when you’ll be needed and what you’ll be presented with,” Cassidy said. “There is a lot of satisfaction that you get when you see someone you’ve helped and they come in and say ‘Thank you’ and give you an update on how they’re doing. That is something I’ll miss.”
As a town employee, Cassidy’s base salary was $50,000.