In 1955, a young boy from Central Islip died from injuries he received when he was struck by an auto. Because there wasn’t an ambulance service in the area, a commercial ambulance from Amityville had to be called. The wrecked cars were picked up promptly, but it was many hours before the ambulance arrived for the boy.
After a meeting on June 6, 1955 (See Article); Gerald and Vivian Pettit along with a group of concerned citizens went door to door to collect the funds needed to start a volunteer ambulance service in Central Islip . A committee was appointed and Dr. Joseph Papa started training the initial group of volunteers. A 1942 Cadillac ambulance was purchased and in October 1955 they responded to the first call for help.
In August 1956, Ernie Willmer and Howie Walwanis delivered the first baby that was born outside of a hospital in our area. The Central Islip Community and Bayshore-Brightwaters were the first to install radios for hospital communications.
In 1967, it was almost impossible to have enough men volunteers in supply for the increasing "day duty" calls, so it was decided to utilize women for ambulance calls. This was not an accepted practice at that time. Most of the women, (seven in the first group) were trained by a veteran member of the ambulance, James Fussner. During this controversy Fussner was quoted as saying "Women are an integral part of the team. During training I swore at them, now I swear by them." Evelyn Fay joined the ambulance in 1969 and was later to become the first woman Ambulance President.
On December 31, 1978, a train struck a young girl at the Central Islip railroad station. Emergency Medical Technician Vincent Cascio happened to be seeing his aunt off at the station at the same time. Vince rushed to the girl’s aid and because of his quick action and that of the crew that responded, the child’s leg was successfully reattached in a 5 hour operation at Smithtown General Hospital. It was one of the first such surgical feats involving a leg severed above the knee. Jerry Eckhoff, Randy Wilson, and Shelly Weingust were on that crew that James Fussner dispatched and were citation recipients. In 1979 Vice Cascio was awarded the New York State and First Aid Association Emergency Medical Technician of the Year Award.
Although the Central Islip Community Ambulance had, since its beginning provided emergency response service to Hauppauge and other surrounding areas, it was not until 1978 that the ambulance name was changed to what it is now...
The Central Islip – Hauppauge Volunteer Ambulance
From a 1942 "Caddy" in the very beginning, we now have six ambulances all capable of advanced life support. We have been providing twenty-four hour a day coverage for more than 50 years and we are proud to continue.