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Issue Home May 11, 2004 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy


Older Pennsylvanians Month

WHEREAS, Older adults are living more active and vibrant lives that continue to enrich the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through working, volunteering, and civic engagement; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s older adult population, with approximately 2.4 million persons over the age of 60, is projected to increase to more than three million by the year 2020; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging and Area Agencies on Aging continue to expand older adults’ awareness of prescription drug assistance and long-term care options, improve their financial literacy, pursue avenues for community participation, social engagement, employment and educational activities; and

WHEREAS, independent living is an important choice for greater numbers of older Pennsylvanians, we dedicate our efforts to identify innovative ideas and progressive options that will honor everyday living preferences and promote the highest quality of care for all older Pennsylvanians; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania embraces the 2004 national Administration on Aging’s Older Americans Month theme, "Aging Well, Living Well," we support healthy lifestyles through wellness and fitness programs and the expansion of Pennsylvania’s premier prescription drug programs, PACE and PACENET; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s residents support the provision of services to older adults through the Pennsylvania Lottery, which has contributed as much as $842 million to such services in a single year.

THEREFORE, I, Edward G. Rendell, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim May 2004 as OLDER PENNSYLVANIANS MONTH. I encourage all citizens to celebrate the significant contributions of all older Pennsylvanians and to help older adults to live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor at the City of Harrisburg, on this twentieth day of April in the year of our Lord two thousand and four, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and twenty-eighth.



Next To A Buddy Killed?

I can only say to Mr. Parrillo, in the words of Ronald Reagan, "There you go again!" Your column states, "April saw the deaths of hundreds of Americans." Fact is there were 140. Considerably less than the 660 killed each and every 30-day period for thousands of days during Viet Nam. Furthermore, President Bush never declared the war over. He did declare an end to our hostilities. Terrorist did not come from the invasion of Iraq. If it did, how do you explain the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (6 dead, 1000 injured), 1995 bombing in Saudi Arabia (5 dead), 1996 Khobar Towers bombing (19 dead, 200 injured), 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies (224 dead, 5000 injured), 2000 bombing of the USS Cole (17 dead, 39 injured) and the 2001 Twin Towers, flight 93 and Pentagon attack (over 3000 dead). My statistics were put in at great length to show how little of the good is reported and to show that the Iraqi people are helping the coalition. You say Washington isn’t telling us the truth – Sir, the media isn’t telling us the truth!

You seem to take your information from cartoons and the very liberal press and you believe that which you read without question. I in turn, talk with folks in the military and research the data I receive. For instance, the casualty count may be found on the internet at: http://lunaville.org/warcasualties/Summary.aspx.

I thoroughly respect your service in WW II. Unlike you, who returned from your war a hero, I came home to be reviled by the Jane Fonda’s and John Kerry’s, spit upon and called baby killer by my peers, and a member of the most demoralized group of soldiers in the history of this nation. And behind it all was a liberal press inciting hatred for the military and setting the tone for journalism that continues pretty much unabated to this day.

Yes, I am a veteran. During the Viet Nam conflict (although we died, it has never been officially a war), I was a Chief Warrant Officer and helicopter pilot. And yes, I have been next to a buddy who was killed. I also know how demoralizing it is for our troops when the truth is not told, ignored or skewed beyond recognition. Soldiers, understanding the horrors of war, want peace to the depth of their souls, but they also know that peace does not come without sacrifice.

Finally, as a personal note, I have a son in the military, for whom I have the utmost respect and concern. Also, from my military record: Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, 18 awards of the Air Medal, Army Commendation medal, Good Conduct medal, National Defense medal, Viet Nam Service medal with two Bronze Star devices, Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star device, Viet Nam Service medal with device, a Presidential Unit Citation and a Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry with Palm device unit citation. At the age of 21, I held a Top Secret security clearance and I was in charge of the air security of the President of the United States during his visit to Di An (pronounced zee on), Viet Nam.


Fred B. Baker, II

Meshoppen, PA

A Big Step To Take

I am writing to provide to the community some information on the Montrose Minute Men, as they provide ambulance coverage in most of Susquehanna County, either as the primary ambulance or as Advanced Life Support assistance to the Basic Life Support ambulances in the county. Currently they are also providing primary ambulance coverage to the Boroughs of Great Bend and Hallstead, Great Bend Township, and Liberty Township between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday while the Great Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance is out of service. I would like to answer some questions and possibly clear up some misconceptions about the Montrose Minute Men, and Greater Valley Emergency Medical Services, Inc.

First and foremost, I would like to stress that both Greater Valley EMS and the Montrose Minute Men are non-profit corporations. They also are charitable organizations under 501(c)3 with tax exempt status and they are both financially stable. This question was raised at the April 7 meeting at the 911 center in Montrose. There is apparently concern about the financial stability of either the Montrose Minute Men or Greater Valley EMS. Both organizations began with a group of volunteers with a vision in the 1940’s and 50’s, and their vision continues strong today, 50 + years later. Being a non-profit organization does not exclude the organization from having to run as a business, with fiduciary responsibility to both its employees and customers.

Secondly, both Greater Valley and the Montrose Minute Men rely a great deal on volunteers to provide depth to their organizations. Yes, over the years they have had to make the decision to pay people to meet the call volume demands placed on them, to stay in business. But they pay staff to meet the regular demands, and to manage the organizations. When demand is high, volunteers come from home to take the 3rd and 4th due calls, or to help on the critical patients.

Both organizations understand and sympathize with the dilemma currently facing the Great Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance. Both organizations faced these issues years ago and had to make some tough decisions, just as Great Bend/Hallstead is facing now. These issues are not new to ambulance services and not relevant just in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is simply that the higher call volume services generally had to face these issues years ago and either overcome them or go out of business.

A Board of Directors with community people seated on it is the first big step to take; that is what both Greater Valley and MMM did to start the changes needed. Several years ago, the Montrose Minute Men faced a dilemma, and looked to Greater Valley EMS for assistance. It was at that point a formal relationship was developed between the two ambulance services. The Montrose Minute Men remained a separate organization and maintained its own identity. However, Greater Valley EMS controls the administration and management, other than day-to-day operations. It has been a good decision for the Minute Men as keeping up with changes in ambulance legislation, billing, human resources and other employer issues is difficult and time consuming. The collaboration has been good for both organizations as they share staff, buying power, and resources.

In the last quarter of 2002, Barnes-Kasson Hospital contacted Greater Valley EMS about the Montrose Minute Men possibly covering the eastern half of Susquehanna County with Advanced Life Support (paramedics) as they had made the decision to stop providing that service, as a cost-saving measure for the hospital. Greater Valley looked at multiple options as to how best meet the needs of the communities and still keep the Minute Men financially stable. Discussions on collaborating with Great Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance fell through, as no mutually agreeable decisions came about. The Minute Men began covering ALS in eastern Susquehanna County on January 1, 2003 and eventually leased an ambulance from Barnes-Kasson and rented a garage along Route 11, between Hallstead and New Milford. The ambulance was staffed from 7 a.m. -7 p.m. Monday through Friday at that location. The coverage was increased to include 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. on the weekends at the beginning of April, 2004. We DO provide Advanced Life Support to the county 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, from 7 p.m. - 7 a.m. the ambulance has to respond from the Minute Men’s base in Montrose, so quite often the patient can be en route to the hospital, or at the hospital before we can rendezvous with the Basic Life Support ambulance transporting the patient.

As John Brant said in his letter, we are all providing emergency medical services for the same reason, to take care of those needing assistance, and we are always looking for volunteers. There will be an EMT class at the Montrose High School, starting in September and ending in December and if anyone is interested in taking it, they can contact their local ambulance service, or the Montrose Minute Men at 278-9188.


Pamela K. Mott, Chief Administrator

Greater Valley EMS, Inc./Montrose Minute Men

A Balkan Of Many Countries

I understand Lou Parrillo is an old man, like I, so he should have been around, and know some history. He needs to look at our war against terrorists in light of US history. We are currently expending about 3% of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for this war. Compare this with 16% when in the Korean War, 16% when in Vietnam, and 120% during World War II. I was a soldier in two of those wars.

Casualties are terrible in Iraq, and I grieve like everybody. But do we know that we lose many thousands killed on our highways every year? Haven’t got to a thousand in Iraq.

I’m writing a biography of a Pennsylvania doctor, James Dunn, who toughed it out as a front-line surgeon for over three years in our Civil War, and sometimes worked closely with Clara Barton, later founder of our Red Cross. At Gettysburg, he operated continuously saving wounded, for over 24 hours without time for food or drink. When President Lincoln asked for volunteers, Dunn didn’t hesitate – already with a wife, four kids and 11 years doctoring – he called on his friends to volunteer and went (at first) as their captain.

Mr. Lincoln grieved for every casualty, just as I’m sure Mr. Bush does. But his duty was to save and secure his country, just as, I’m sure, President Bush feels a similar, steadfast duty.

Back to numbers, Lou Parrillo. The Civil War cost 200,000 casualties a year, for more than three long years, 1861–65; and at a time when we were only a fraction of our present population. All these years, Mr. Lincoln had enormous pressure to sue for peace, to "cut and run." If he had, we would today, be a Balkan of many countries. Think of that.


Dr. Paul Kerr

Montrose, PA

Please Continue Your Support

The Susquehanna Fire Dept. Ambulance fund drive is now in progress and we need your financial support. This is our only fund-raiser for the ambulance. The ambulance does not receive any tax dollars for its operation. Please note, this is a separate fund drive from the fire department, which is mailed in September.

We do not solicit by phone, or in person, only through our fund drive mailing.

If you did not receive a mailing request, you may mail your donation to: The Susquehanna Fire Dept. Ambulance, P.O. Box 175, Susquehanna, PA 18847; or call 853–3861.

Thank you for your continued support.

The Susq. Fire Dept. Ambulance

I Will Proudly Receive You

Fact: The United States of America is the greatest free nation in the world!

Fact: The freedoms we enjoy have come at a high and bloody cost. Many men and women willingly sacrificed their lives fighting for the inalienable rights you and I exercise each and every day, and they continue to willingly protect those rights today!

Fact: Additional attacks on innocent Americans, on American soil have been thwarted since 9-11 due to the vision, dedication, implementation and faithful determination of many responsible, resilient, knowledgeable and professional leaders (whether I agree with them or not) not willing to accept the indiscriminate murder of any more of our loved ones on our own soil.

Fact: Muslin extremists/terrorists are hell-bent on eradicating the "infidel" (that’s you and me) for no other reason than... we exist!

Did Americans incite the numerous terrorist attacks against our own that occurred during the 90’s, or were we simply minding our own business keeping the peace, before 3000 of our family, friends, neighbors, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and children were slaughtered for simply being alive? Did our leaders stand up and protect us then? They did absolutely nothing!

Fact: Wars are an ugly reality!

Fact: War means reason and diplomacy have failed and willing and honorable men and women step up to protect you and me and our right and privilege to dissent... or not!

Fact: War defines civilians who willingly swear to serve in our military as warriors, who will either die fighting or defeat the enemy, likewise... less surrender!

Are we to suggest that no war has been worth the lives who valiantly died fighting? And if there has been even one war considered "worth the battle" – was that one war "prettier" than the wars that weren’t? Or, is the horror of death just that – wretched horror?

How is it that some will scream incessantly over the death of a soldier or two, or several hundred, or God forbid, a thousand and more – yet are willing to accept the fact that in many other practices exercised within our civilized society we accept that death is an inevitable and just payoff for the benefits derived? How many thousands died annually from unnecessary/elective surgical error, poor eating habits, smoking, alcoholism, recreational accidents, homicides, choice of lifestyle – AIDS, STDs, planes trains, abortions (our nation has chosen to murder a generation, because we don’t want to be inconvenienced)? I recently read that over 43,000 deaths occurred (in 2003) from vehicular accidents. Are we saying that the price of 43,000 dead (in one year alone) is justifiable, simply when considering the benefits and conveniences derived from driving? 43,000 dead, simply for driving a vehicle and we accept that, but when brave and willing heroes die fighting for our freedom to be able to drive we have a fit (?)!

I pray, every day that the God I know will send His guardian angels to protect the brave and willing men and women who have, are and continue to choose to join our armed forces daily. As lives are sacrificed, fighting to protect us from the evil of pure vitriolic hatred against humans for simply existing on the face of this earth, I am confident God has taken each hero, one by one to a far and better place than you and I could ever imagine. And to those who bravely fight and return to our motherland, I will ever so proudly receive you with open arms of gratitude and base humility.


Paul Kester, Kingsley, PA

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

The Great Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance, Inc. is proud to serve their fellow neighbors and want to give each one of you the opportunity to feel this same sense of pride by becoming a member of the ambulance. Training is essential and current members are eager to explain the steps necessary to serve as a driver, become certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or as a First Responder. Currently, the need for volunteers is urgent! With your dedication and volunteerism, this situation can be reversed. Positive community support for the ambulance is tremendous and knowing the community needs is a strong motivator for the ambulance to strive for full volunteer staffing. Volunteers derive enormous personal satisfaction from being members of the ambulance, often providing life-giving emergency medical service. It is one of the greatest feelings in life.

Please give this appeal your most serious consideration; make a difference – volunteer. Call right now. The Great Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance, Inc. provides emergency medical services to Great Bend and Hallstead Boroughs, Great Bend and Liberty Townships.

Membership requirements include: 1. A desire to help the community. 2. Be at least 16 years of age. 3. Be willing to commit a designated number of hours a week to respond to calls.

Some benefits of membership: 1. A feeling of satisfaction and joy when you help someone in need. 2. Becoming a member of an organization and meeting new friends and contacts. 3. We provide training and will pay for EMS training courses. 4. Plus incentives for making calls and camaraderie. If we don’t increase our membership, it is conceivable that we will no longer be able to provide emergency medical care to our area. Please help us help you.

EMT Class – a 130 hour EMT class is scheduled to start the end of June, 2004. It will be held Monday and Wednesday nights, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and one Sunday a month. The class runs three and a half months. For those of you not interested in riding in an ambulance, but who still would like to volunteer, there is a special services membership, which allows someone to serve as a committee member. If there is someone who wants to get involved, we’ll find a way for him or her to get involved!

Please, help us help you, call 879–2843 or 879–2247 for more information.


Great Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance, Inc.

Our Many Thanks

The Oakland Borough Parks and Recreation Committee would like to thank everyone that helped in any way with the Easter egg hunt, bake sale, candle sale, for your donations, and to all of those who gave of their time and talents to help with park projects.

We can now begin repairs and improvements.

We appreciate you and your support for a good day and a better tomorrow!


Kathleen Crawford


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