They’re off! Shelton volunteers begin 3,200-mile disaster aid trip
Echo Hose Ambulance Volunteer Corps members Jeff Caporaso and Tim Greer have left on their journey to the Moore, Okla. area to deliver supplies collected in Shelton for first responders and victims of the May 20 tornado that devastated the community in the Southwest.
Echo Hose Ambulance Chief Mike Chaffee and others saw the two off as they began the 1,600-mile drive each way in an Echo House extended pickup truck with an attached U-Haul trailer packed with donations. They left from Shelton EMS headquarters at 7 p.m. on Friday. Around 8 a.m. Saturday morning the volunteers were in Tennessee.
Chafee said the two Echo Hose Ambulance volunteers are doing a good deed. “We couldn’t be prouder of them taking this on,” Chaffee said. “It’s a great mission, and representative of our service to the community.”
“Since day one,” Caporaso commented, “I said I was willing to drive the donations myself if necessary, and lo and behold, we are on our way. It’s nice to be a part of the follow-through with a project — from start to finish.”
Take turns behind the wheel
Greer expects to be behind the wheel for the initial part of the drive, but he and Caporaso will take turns driving on the volunteer mission. “We’ll swap back and forth,” Greer said.
For Caporaso, it will be the first time he has traveled west of Pennsylvania. He’s looking forward to getting to see much of the middle part of the country for the first time.
Greer has been to Oklahoma and points west in the past, and has relatives who live in Oklahoma. “I’ve done a lot of cross-country driving,” he said.
They will very briefly visit with Greer’s relatives in Oklahoma before turning around and starting the drive home.
Should get to Oklahoma on Sunday
The two Echo Hose EMS volunteers should arrive in Oklahoma on Sunday morning, and then get back to Shelton — and to their families and jobs — sometime Monday night.
They will stop at the Moore Fire Department headquarters and then continue to another facility in El Reno, Okla., which is about an hour west of Oklahoma City (Moore is just southeast of Oklahoma City).
Good weather is expected along the way. “The weather looks good for the whole trip,” said Greer, who is Echo Hose Ambulance treasurer.
Caporaso is special operations leader and community outreach member for the volunteer ambulance corps that serves Shelton.
Many items donated by the public
The public donated many items to take to the Oklahama first responders handling the aftermath of the tornado. The idea was to assist other public safety agencies facing a major challenge. Some donated items also will go to tornado victims.
The trailer includes nonperishable food, clothing, toiletries, diapers, toys and other items. Chaffee called the public response for collections “amazing” and Greer described it as “fantastic.”
Many items were collected at the Shelton Wal-Mart, with shoppers advised what items were needed on an hourly basis, Caporaso said.
Echo Hose Ambulance worked with the Shelton police and fire departments on the collection effort.
The U-Haul trailer was donated by the U-Haul corporate office.
About Echo Hose Volunteer EMS
Echo Hose Volunteer Ambulance Corps is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing emergency medical services to Shelton residents. Corps members respond to more than 5,000 emergency calls per year with transporting ambulances, first-responding vehicles as well as special operations equipment.
Through its training center, the Echo Hose EMS annually educates more than 250 new EMT students as well as provides refresher training for over 150 EMS professionals. In addition, state EMT testing services are utilized by more than 1,000 students per year.