First grants from EMS Fund go to Deerfield Valley Rescue

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WILMINGTON — As Deerfield Valley Rescue closed on the purchase of a building and cemented its plans for relocating across town, the group became the first recipient of grants through The Emergency Medical Services Fund.

"It's been a slow start, because I'm the main person doing everything," said Marc Schauber of West Dover, who started the fund in 2013 and received nationwide nonprofit status the next year. "While we have a board, it's really just been me. I've had to make a living at the same time. So it's been slow but it's nice to be at a place where we can help ambulance organizations."

Schauber had been a paramedic and part-time firefighter on Long Island, N.Y., before moving to the valley two years ago. He had injured himself while lifting a patient and said he never liked working in information technology afterward.

Wanting to continue to help ambulance groups, Schauber started The EMS Fund.

"This seemed a good way to go," he said. "I'm hoping it to be my life's work from here on out."

DVR had transported him to a hospital after he sustained a concussion while skiing at Mount Snow, the West Dover-based resort. But that had nothing to do with the grant process.

The organization was selected "because they were in need at this point," Schauber said. At first, he was unsure whether his nonprofit could assist. He thought the fund's charter required ambulance groups to be 100 percent volunteer in order to be eligible for grants.

But after reading about DVR's new site at Frank Sprague's former welding workshop, on Stowe Hill Road off Route 100 North, Schauber looked over the charter again and found he was wrong.

The mission of the fund, he said, is to increase the quality of care that ambulance crews provide.

"Whether you live in rural America or a big city, you should get the same level of care," he said. "That obviously means equipment and training."

The two grants will cover those areas. A new monitor/defibrillator, a monitor and an automated CPR system will be purchased with $45,937 provided through the fund. And a $50,000 grant will go towards constructing a training room that will be used by DVR and community members.

"It was good timing," Schauber said.

DVR closed on the building on Oct. 8.

The group's permit application for conditional use of the property — for operating a "safety-related facility" — has been approved by the Wilmington Development Review Board. The state also will need to approve the change of use through the Act 250 process, according to Heidi Taylor, business administrator of DVR.

Taylor said the new equipment has been ordered. The other grant had not come in as of Monday.

"Because we don't have all our final figures on the estimates and stuff," Taylor said, referring to renovations.

She confirmed the relocation was still on schedule. The hope is to be out of the space on Route 100 South by Dec. 1.

The relocation came about after DVR's landlord, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, which runs a health center next door, wanted to expand. Taylor has said her group also wanted to expand.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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