Chuck Myers: a community caretaker
On their first call, they were summoned to transport the town doctor, who had suffered a stroke. “The most we had in those days was a first aid kit and some wooden splints,” he says. “Now there are lots of regulations to keep up with, but it means better care.”
Today, folks have the comfort of knowing that two ambulances and a corps of trained volunteers are at the ready. An Advanced Life Support unit and three members with advanced certification provide enhanced life-saving support. Recently, a fly car was purchased to serve as a first response vehicle containing equipment such as a defibrillator unit and oxygen.
“We do a yearly mailing for income,” says Chuck. “People are very generous. They understand the value.” That generosity allowed them to purchase a generator and to serve as an emergency evacuation center that was open for eight days during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Nearly 220 people were helped and 500 meals were served. “We had cots and air mattresses,” he says. “Two people needed oxygen tanks filled. We sent the fly car to check on elderly folks and took supplies to NYC.”
Over the years, Chuck has served in many roles, including his current involvement as treasurer/trustee/deacon at the Eldred Congregational Church. He’s received abundant accolades for his selfless contributions to community life, including a proclamation naming May 19 Chuck Myers Day. Yet he was surprised to be honored by the ALAS when they dedicated their new headquarters in his name. “Humble and proud—that’s how I felt,” he says.
During construction of the building, Chuck broke his back in a fall from a ladder. He came back from the hospital by ambulance and asked to see the progress on the building before going home.
Now 87, Chuck is still an active member of the ALAS. Although he won’t renew his EMT license when it expires next year, he plans to continue volunteering. A life member of the Yulan Fire Department who served as fire chief for three years, Chuck is also the secretary/treasurer of the ambulance corps and treasurer of the American Legion, where he served two years as Commander.
Why does he do it? “I just like this little town,” he says. “I enjoy helping people, whether putting out their fires or taking them to the hospital. I’ve had the chance to hold a newborn in my arms. It’s all been my passion. I can’t say I enjoy being where people are ill or injured, but I do enjoy the fact that I’m able to help them.”