Members of the Thurman Emergency Medical Services — Captain John O'Neill (right), President Jean Coulard (center) and former captain Adam Styers — pose recently for a photograph. The independent agency's funding has been cut from the town's 2013 budget, leaving the squad's funding uncertain — a situation which has dismayed a number of local citizens who worry about availability and response time of ambulances in Thurman.
To the Adirondack Journal:
To the Editor:
Irv West mentioned last week, “Let Thurman folks decide on EMS coverage." With that said, as a Thurman "folk" where our town was known once as "Almost Heaven,“ I could not agree more.
My parents moved to Thurman when I was just a year old, where I resided until I was 21. I left for short three short years and in that time married my husband and we had our first child. The one thing I wanted most for my new family was to live in a beautiful peaceful place where neighbors look out for one another, safety was not a concern, and my children could grow up in the way I had.
When I was a child, all town events either revolved around the children or the elderly. We had a summer rec program — I both attended it for years and was employed by it for two summers. We also enjoyed weekly trips to the YMCA and enjoyed a playground in the sun. Does any of this sound familiar?
My question is, what happened to Thurman? Yes, Thurman is still peaceful and beautiful (minus the new scrolling sign). Thurman also offers the children great holiday parties for which I'd like to thank all involved for all they do to organize these parties.
But overall, Thurman is a changed place and it certainly did not change for the better. Thurman has demolished the rec program, moved the playground to the top of the hill in the shade (where on hot days the bugs like to play) and eliminated the YMCA trips. Thurman has made it’s Old Home Days and the Fiddlers Jamboree a thing of the past, stopped garbage pick up and has a scrolling sign in front of the town hall, which is bound to cause an accident when a resident slows their vehicle just to read it. To top all this off, the town board is making Thurman an unsafe place to live by cutting funding and ultimately eliminating our dedicated EMS squad!
Thurman has become an undesirable place to live, something I never thought possible. All this just to keep taxes down? The EMS agency has proposed in a recent letter that it would cost each household $45 per year to keep the EMS squad operating. That’s only $3.75 a month per household!
I am all for controlling taxes, but $3.75 per month is an increase I can support when I know that urgent medical care will be available for my family if the need arises.
Let me share with you the times that the EMS came to the aid for my family. I can assure you that my family would have preferred to pay the $45 in taxes as opposed to a very large unplanned bill from a private EMS squad.
On June 14, 1997 local ambulance personnel came to my rescue as I lay unconscious on the side of Athol Road. Could you imagine how my parents would have felt if the EMS did not come to my rescue?
They assisted my family again Oct. 25, 2001 the night my dad Teddy Ackley passed away. You probably all remember him as the guy who fixed your breaks or maybe a television. He was a neighbor helping his fellow neighbors. I was 18, and my brothers were 16 and 14. Although they could not revive my dad, they were there! Could you imagine what my mom would have done with three hysterically upset children if the EMS was not available and we had to wait for a coroner to arrive? I would not have wanted to be in her shoes for such a situation.
Thurman has gotten rid of so much that this elimination of programs and services has already badly affected our community.
As a resident, a taxpayer, a mother and wife, I urge the Thurman community to stop this decline and reverse these changes. Let’s stand our ground and try to preserve all that Thurman has left.
The EMS is a crucial staple of our community — you never know when you may need them. I just pray that they are in operation when you do need their services.
Karen Ackley-Ward, Thurman