Brattleboro branck of TD Bank holds fundraiser for Rescue Inc.

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BRATTLEBORO >> Locals stopped by TD Bank on Friday with checks, cash or bags of change, but not necessarily for the purpose of depositing the sum into their personal account, but rather to give back to a local organization that is in the business of saving lives.

As part of TD Banks "Bring Change" campaign, TD Bank on Main Steet served as a designated hub to support Rescue Inc., a nonprofit, that provides emergency medical and light duty rescue services to communities in Windham County and Cheshire County in New Hampshire. On Friday, TD invited people to participate in a community fundraiser to support the organization,with all funds funneled toward new mounting brackets for all of the seven Rescue Inc. ambulances that must meet 2015 federal regulations.

"It was definitely something we were excited to hear that we were being honored for," said Captain Paramedic at Rescue Inc. Rebecca Lapointe. "It's going to help a lot to make that goal reachable in the next 12 months or so."

According to TD Field Marketing Manager Fran Yanulavich, from Maine to Florida, TD tries to donate a total of $1 million to local nonprofits throughout its fiscal year. This year the local branch selected Rescue Inc. from two other locally nominated non-profits. TD will donate $2,000 to the organization on top of what was raised through community contributions.

As of July 2015, new federal ambulance crash test data requires a nationwide stretcher mounting upgrade for ambulances. The upgrade for the stretcher and mount is just under $20,000 for each of the seven ambulances that they have. Lapointe said that the mounting brackets hold stretchers to the floor inside the ambulance that is used for patient care.

In addition, Rescue Inc. EMT Anna Lawes, who has been at the organization for one year, notes the importance of these upgrades.

"The old equipment works fine, but it's a little out of date with some glitches," said Lawes. "It's just something you want to go smoothly when you're putting the patient in the truck, so anything to sort of streamline that is always great."

Jessica Brookes, TD Branch Manager, said Rescue Inc. was chosen based on its involvement with the community, its specific need for the stretcher mounts and for all the work its EMTs perform throughout Windham County and surrounding areas.

"When you call 9-1-1 or call for help, those are some of the first people to arrive; they work really hard not just at rescue, but there are other parts of their lives that they volunteer for. So we really just wanted to raise awareness for all the hard they do," said Brookes.

According to a TD Bank press release, The Bring Change campaign is designed to "address the needs of our neighbors." Yanulavich stated the initiative was launched in 2014 and focuses on such issues as homelessness, food shortages and services for those with special needs.

Rescue, Inc. provides ambulance services to 13 Vermont and two New Hampshire communities over a territory of nearly 500 square miles. Several of the EMTs work on a purely volunteer basis, sometimes donating an average of 40 to 50 hours per month of shift time.

"Everyone that works at Rescue is highly dedicated and committed to the community and people we serve in the community," said Lapointe. "And people like TD Bank really remind us that this is what we're here for."

In addition to Lapointe's work at Rescue Inc., she is also a full-time mother and is a charge nurse in the emergency room at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

As for Paramedic Staff Member at Rescue Inc., Sarah Shermeta said working for a nonprofit as opposed to a for-profit is a "totally different atmosphere," that the entire community rallies behind. And despite some of the demanding and tragic aspects of the job, Shermeta loves her work.

"Any time you can bring comfort to someone in their moment of crisis, even if all things are going all wrong for them and it's the worst day of their life, you can make it a little easier for them, whether it's to make them smile or bring a little bit of comfort to that moment," said Shermeta.

Rescue, Inc.'s staff is comprised of volunteer and paid medical professionals as well as a Board of Directors. At present, Rescue, Inc. has approximately 40 nationally certified EMTs working 12 and 24 hour shifts throughout each month.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275


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