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Advanced Life Support gets grant from Shuster

January 07, 2006|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -

A recent $100,000 grant to Chambersburg Advanced Life Support (ALS) enabled the service to enhance its fleet and to build a garage to house it.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster presented the money to officials from ALS, a division of West Shore EMS, on Friday morning at the construction site.

"We will use the funding to purchase an ambulance, a paramedic unit and other equipment that Chambersburg needs to better serve the community," said Larry Roberts, vice president and COO of West Shore EMS.

The money frees up capital previously allotted for those purchases, and will be used to build a garage to house the 10-vehicle fleet, Roberts said.

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"Our present housing has no garage facilities," Roberts said. "We're a major player in the South Central Pennsylvania Counter Terrorism Task Force. We respond throughout the state and nation. It was foolish that we didn't have security for our own vehicles."

The concrete block building at the corner of Norland and Fifth avenues has been in the works since 1998, Roberts said. It will have eight bays, three of them double-deep. One is a maintenance bay.

Despite the cold and some snow flurries, "it's a good day to be in Franklin County," said Shuster, R-Franklin. He secured the funding through the Labor, Health and Human Services portion of the 2005 Omnibus Appropriation Bill.

"Your job is sometimes thankless," Shuster told the ALS and EMS personnel. "You don't get the accolades you deserve. Thank you for what you do.

"This is Franklin County taxpayer dollars coming back home to benefit this wonderful community. I've taken criticism for these 'earmarks,' but I make no apologies. (The taxpayers) send me to Washington to fight and bring home their tax dollars, not to give them to a bureaucracy that has never been to Franklin County."

About 80 people are employed by the service, half of them full time. The service maintains paramedic stations in Chambersburg, Shippensburg and St. Thomas.

Roberts thanked Shuster on behalf of the ambulance service and "on behalf of the 10,000 Franklin County residents we serve on an annual basis."

Chambersburg ALS merged with West Shore in 2000.

Roberts said he expects the garage to be ready for use by March or April.

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