He hadn’t been on the job long when a life-and-death situation landed on his lap. On a Saturday afternoon in October, the Westhampton Ambulance Service responded to an emergency call. A 66-year-old Hampton Bays man was having chest pains. Glenn Dorskind, an Emergency Medical Technician with the service for just over a year, arrived on the scene with then Chief Al Tudesco.
While Mr. Dorskind was speaking to the man at his job in Westhampton for a routine assessment of his medical history, the man suddenly went into cardiac arrest. “There was no pulse or breath,” said Mr. Dorskind, who immediately began CPR before using an Automated External Defibrillator to deliver a shock to the man’s heart. “He came back to life and then we transported him to the hospital.”
Mr. Dorskind credits his chief, Mr. Tudesco, for his leadership while in route to the hospital and Frank Valsquez for his skill behind the wheel of the ambulance. “Frank drove fast and smooth and I had complete confidence in him,” Mr. Dorskind said. “He’s a great driver.”
Chief Rita Wyatt, who took the reins from Chief Tudesco last month, said the actions of the crew speaks to the training and dedication of the service’s volunteers. “It’s the best thing you can do,” Chief Wyatt said, referring to saving a life. The chief reports that the man they saved is doing well and recently gave out “cardiac saved” pins to members of the ambulance service.
Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot and the Town Board honored the crew last week at Town Hall. “Well trained in basic life support, Glenn Dorskind and his EMS team were able to resuscitate this gentleman,” Ms. Kabot said. “Their quick and skillful emergency medical response saved the man’s life.”
“The patient was lucky,” Mr. Dorskind said. “We were lucky. As Bob Dylan would say, ‘God was on our side.’”
Firefighter of the Year
Also honored was Southampton Firefighter of the year, Robin Owens, who not only holds the distinction of being the first woman to receive the tribute but is also the first female member of the 127-year-old department. Ms. Owens has also been singled out for her “dedication and service to the community” by the Suffolk County Legislature’s 2nd District.
Ms. Owens was a standout firefighter for 2008, but last year she was one of the top ranking members in attendance scoring a 98 . Ms. Kabot praised Ms. Owens for volunteering despite having two ful-time jobs.
“She finds the time to volunteer her skills to protect our town’s citizens and property,” Ms. Kabot said. “Time and again, 24/7, Robin Owens places the personal safety of others ahead of her own as she responds to fire calls.”
The recipients of the prestigious award from the town’s other departments include Rodney Trafford of the Hampton Bays Department, Arlene Jahelka of Quogue, Craig Robinson of North Sea, Anacarolina Hershman of Flanders, Tom Covino of Westhampton Beach, William Bennett of Sag Harbor, Thomas Jenkins of Bridgehampton, Sean McDermott of East Quogue, Carl Woronka of Eastport, and Kevin Burgess of the Riverhead Fire Department, which protects a portion of Southampton Town.
“The Town of Southampton recognizes that fighting fires is one of the most hazardous undertakings—requiring training, strength, endurance, courage, and a selfless concern for the welfare of fellow citizens,” Ms. Kabot said.