Six High School Sophomores Join Ranks of All-Volunteer Squad
Submitted by Evan Skinner
The Chatham Emergency Squad (CES) is proud to welcome its 19th Cadet Class. Joining CES after graduation in the spring are rising Chatham High School Juniors Molly Alperowitz, Jorah Burns, Shannon Carey, Bennett Marshall, Sarah Meyler and Ian Reardon. The new cadet class joins rising Senior cadets Kylie Finkelstein, Sophia Gagliardi, Mihir Rao, Risha Surana, Jack Tapper, Roma Welsh and the graduating class of 2021, Hayley Baumgartner, Sam Cooperman, Tanay Malla, Claire Silverstein, Amalie Srinivas, and Mary Kate Vowells.
The CES Cadet program welcomed its first Cadet class in 2003 as part of CES’s commitment to encouraging involvement in all aspects of the community. It is a highly competitive two-year program open to all high school sophomores who are Chatham residents and will be 16 years old by June 1. The successful candidates represent a variety of interests, experience and future plans. What they have in common is their willingness to make a commitment to an intensive, multi-year program combining hands-on experience and ongoing training. After graduation, each cadet begins riding with their assigned crew, which they continue to do until the summer after their senior year of high school. Although they are students, they are considered full members of their crew, and once they pass the National Registry EMT exam, have all the rights and responsibilities of other EMTs on the Squad. This year, all six new cadets will attend the EMT training program as a group at the Union County Community College in Plainfield, NJ.
Many past cadets go on to pursue higher education in the field of medicine. Founding member Courtney DuBois Shihabuddin, now a Nurse Practitioner in Ohio said, “The Chatham Emergency Squad was like a family to me. It was such a joy bringing this program to life and getting to participate as a cadet EMT. My experience with CES helped to develop my passion for healthcare.“
Two current Squad members, Sarah Nelson (2009) and Jay Crigler (2013) are employed full time as Registered Nurses at area hospitals and continue to volunteer once a week on their regular crew. Sarah said about her cadet experience, “Having the opportunity to have hands-on medical experience while I was still in high school crystallized my desire to become a nurse. Volunteering with CES is personally rewarding and makes me a better nurse.”
Numerous cadets continue to serve on the Squad through the summer after graduation to achieve regular member status and return to active service on vacations. Presently, this includes 9 members of the Cadet classes of 2017, 2018 and 2019. The application process for the 2022 Cadet class opens in early January; all area high schools are notified of the opportunity long before the application deadline.
The Chatham Emergency Squad never charges for its services; most of its annual expenses are paid for by donations from the community. In addition to providing Basic Life Support (BLS) service 24/7, 365/days/year, CES provides stand-by support for community events, such as the Chatham Turkey Trot, the Fishawack Festival, and school sports events. CES also hosts blood drives and provides free CPR training to residents, teachers, coaches, school crossing guards and emergency personnel, including fire and police. CES is always interested in speaking to potential volunteers. To learn more, to donate or to volunteer, visit chathamemergencysquad.org.