BY VINCENT TODARO
EAST BRUNSWICK – Volunteers with the township’s rescue squad will run in the New York City Marathon this weekend to raise funds for a badly needed new ambulance.
The $150,000 ambulance has already been ordered, and it’s up to the squad to pay it off, according to rescue squad member David Applbaum. Unlike the municipality or the fire department, the squad does not collect property taxes to fund its expenditures, and relies solely on donations.
Applbaum and three other squad members have teamed up to run in Sunday’s marathon. They will collect sponsors to augment funding already collected from other events and donations. Sponsors will pledge to pay a certain amount per mile that each person runs.
Scott Pasichow, Rebecca Karp, Heather Kopsco and Applbaum, who is the only one with prior marathon experience, are hoping to complete the race, because the more they run, the more money will be collected, he said.
After the race, each runner’s distance will be posted on the rescue squad’s Web site at www.ebrs.org, and people will then be asked to send in their pledges.
Sponsors have initially been collected through “word of mouth,” but fliers were being sent out as well, Applbaum said. The rescue squad has also taken to standing on street corners to collect money for the new ambulance. It also solicits donations annually from residents.
If every township resident were to pledge a dime per runner for each mile completed, the ambulance would be paid for, Applbaum said.
The squad hopes to put a face on itself by reaching out like this to the community. Most residents only have a concrete knowledge of the squad if they or a loved one has needed emergency service recently, Applbaum said.
“Really this is for the township residents, because the sooner we replace the old ambulance, the sooner they can use the new one,” he said.
The squad has four operational ambulances, but the oldest is from 1990 and constantly needs service. It is more cost-efficient at this point to replace it with a new one rather than to keep fixing it, he said.
“This is cheaper in the long run and better for the residents,” he said.
The township bonded for the ambulance on behalf of the squad, though the squad must still pay for it. Applbaum said he was not sure if the township will help pay a portion of the cost.
The marathon will be run along a 26.2-mile course from Staten Island to Central Park.
Preparation for the race includes up to 40 hours per week of training, Applbaum said. Because of their differing and busy schedules, the four runners have not been able to train together as a group very much.
Applbaum also ran in last year’s New York City Marathon, though he re-injured his ankle during the race. He was still able to finish, however.
He said the runners’ times are not the important thing: it’s about raising money and helping the community.
To sponsor one of the runners, mail donations to: Team EBRS, East Brunswick Rescue Squad, 346 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, 08816.
The squad will accept either a flat donation, or a pledge per mile after the race. For instance, if the pledge is 25 cents per mile per runner, the donation would total $26.20 if all four complete the race.