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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    SBVAC: A Small Group with a Huge Heart

    For over 30 years, Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps, or SBVAC, has been serving the Stony Brook community by offering top quality assistance to those in need. You may ask, ‘What makes this group of individuals different than any other ambulatory group?’ The answer is that each and every member of this spectacular organization is not only volunteering their own time, but they are also students and members of the Stony Brook community. It is quite possible that the person sitting next to you in your math class or the gentleman who held the door for you could be one of these volunteers for SBVAC. Bottom line is, anybody can be a part of this organization -and that’s what is so special about them.

    SBVAC was created in 1970 by a small group of Stony Brook University students, who were frustrated with the slow and extremely dangerous response time(s) from the local fire and health departments. In an effort to minimize their reliability on other public services, SBVAC was created. Today, employing over 70-90 dedicated volunteers and three operational ambulances, SBVAC provides aid to not only SBU, but to neighboring facilities alike when needed.

    It is interesting when I started talking with other students and faculty members on campus about SBVAC, and the only idea which most people can muster up about the SBVAC is that they are just an ambulatory group for SBU. On the contrary, they are much more. Their influence and determination spreads out all over Long Island, filling in for local departments who need help or assistance when they are shorthanded, being placed on standby for local and national emergencies – like during the Northeast Blackout of 2004 and the attacks on September 11.

    I had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Tina Seecharan, President of SBVAC. When asked about her feelings pertaining to the organization, she stated, ‘Family’hellip;but a family can only work if everyone gets involved equally, so it is important to exemplify superior leadership skills, not only while on duty, but off duty as well.’

    One big misconception which encompasses around SBVAC is its lack of credibility and responsibility due in part to its student involvement, but in all reality, these statements could never have been further from the truth. Andrew Rotjan – 2nd Assistant Chief – stated, ‘When it comes to alcohol and drugs, this organization has no place for it. When it comes down to it, SBVAC enforces a zero tolerance rule.’

    Amongst the many life saving and public serving action and events this group has performed, they still have time to give back even more to the community. During the spring and summer months, the dedicated members of SBVAC run its annual Teddy Bear Clinic at the local Day Care Center. Understanding that during an emergency situation, EMT and Paramedic personnel may be a little alarming to children, the organization sets up a series of day-long events with the Day Care Center to instruct and instill trust and information with all the children. Volunteers place bandages on the stuffed animals and talk one-on-one with all the children. This awesome act of charity and compassion is not just informational, but fun for all the children and adults alike.

    For more information about SBVAC, you may check out their website at WWW.SBVAC.ORG.

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