Sun City Center, Florida -- Most people work for decades, looking forward to the day when they can finally retire and take it easy. But a group of retirees in Sun City Center is willingly giving up part of their free time to work anywhere from eight to 40 hours every week.
This week, the dedication of the all-volunteer Sun City Center Emergency Squad earned a statewide award. The Florida Council on Aging presented the SCC Emergency Squad with the Quality Senior Living Award for Service to Seniors by an Organization at its annual awards program in Orlando.
The SCC Emergency Squad is a Basic Life Support (BLS) that is staffed 24 hours a day, with two ambulances during the day and one overnight, along with two wheelchair vans to take people to doctor appointments or radiation or dialysis treatments. Their services are free of charge and funded entirely through donations.
"You have a feeling on the inside of you that money can't buy," said Chief Noreen Schramm. "It's that satisfaction--the deep satisfaction of knowing that you've helped somebody else in a time of need."
Kathleen Rusnak needed their help last year after falling in her home--breaking her wrist and nose. "They were fantastic! They were absolutely fantastic," said Rusnak. "They didn't do anything until they knew what they were going to do and how they were going to do it and they helped calm me down because I was mad at myself. They were just great!"
The squad has nearly 440 volunteers. More than 200 of those people have direct patient contact. The rest work in support positions like dispatching. Nearly all of the volunteers are retirees living in Sun City Center who don't let retirement keep them from giving back.
"You can only play golf so many days a week or go bowling so many days a week, before it loses that joy," said EMT Robin Watt. "This provides a measure of joy and meaningfulness in your life that you're not going to get on the golf course every day."
Volunteers don't need to have formal healthcare training. The squad will provide training.
Click here if you'd like to learn more about the Sun City Center Emergency Squad.