This last week the Forest Hills VAC celebrated held its annual Awards Night and Installation of Officers. The event also specifically highlighted forty years of service by founding member Josephine Bebirian. EMS is overflowing with brevity in careers, which is why longevity should be celebrated.
This is the letter I wrote to the attendees of the Awards Night that appears in the 2012 Awards Night Program:
First, I would like to thank you for joining us in recognizing the service provided to the community by all the members of the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps. It is important to recognize the service we provide and celebrate our victories because if we don’t do it, no one can do it for us.
As the Chief Operating Officer of the Corps I have the opportunity to interact with other agencies and see their operations. What I learned years ago remains true today, that our members are by far our greatest asset. As a member your value is greater than any building, vehicle, or computer system. Without you those things would simply be accessories that exist with no purpose. I thank you all for your continued service and contributions in making the Forest Hills VAC as successful as it is in fulfilling the mission of service to the communities of Forest Hills and Rego Park.
Tonight we will be specifically honoring a member who has been active with the Forest Hills VAC longer than I myself have been alive. Tonight we will honor Founding Member Josephine Bebirian for over 40 years of continued service. It is important to remember that things were very different for our Founding Members than they are for us. They did not have the luxury of two ambulances, a headquarters, or even a radio system. They were motivated not by gift cards or plaques, not by newspaper articles proclaiming their heroism or public decrees of their good work, not by fancy dinners or videos praising their achievements. They were motivated by the power to make a positive difference in the lives of others in their community through service. Josephine has been motivated for over 40 years and as much as we serve as her legacy, she reminds us of our origins and motivates us to continue to fulfill the mission of unselfish service they set forth to accomplish 40 years ago.
I would be remiss if I failed to recognize the conclusion of another piece of Forest Hills VAC history. Tonight, after 4 years, President Alan Wolfe will take the oath as Vice-President-Elect and come July 1 the reins of the organization will officially be turned over to President-Elect Ron Cohen. While Alan and I have often been opposed ideologically both before and during his presidency, there have also been quite a few times (perhaps surprisingly) when we have been in agreement. More importantly were the times we would be able to come to a compromise in order to guide the Corps forward. While we may have a difference in opinion, I believe that Alan has always served with the best intentions and interest of the Corps in his heart, and for that I thank him and I ask for you to do the same.
Remember – BSI, Scene Safety