LAMBERTVILLE: For 50 years, Pittore answers rescue squad’s calls for help

He’s honored for half-century of volunteerism

By John Tredrea, Special Writer
  LAMBERTVILLE — One day a little more than 50 years ago, a teenage boy named Pat Pittore was at his dad’s shop, Phil’s Shoe Store, in downtown Lambertville.
   ”A siren went off that day,” Mr. Pittore recalled last week. “I followed it, from my father’s shop to the building it was coming from, the first aid squad station, which was on Lambert Lane in those days.”
   When he got to the station that day, young Pat Pittore was persuaded by some volunteers there to join the squad’s youth program. He did. Now, half a century later, he’s still a member of the Lambertville-New Hope Ambulance and Rescue Squad.
   On Oct. 27 at the Spring Hill Manor in Ivyland, Pennsylvania, Mr. Pittore received the Burpee Emergency Service Award for 2013. The awards, sponsored by the Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, honor a volunteer firefighter and an emergency medical service provider from each unit serving Bucks County.
   ”I joined the squad because it seemed like an exciting thing to do,” he said. “I was a teenager at the time, and that kind of thing can appeal to you when you’re that age. There is excitement and adventure involved in being an EMT. There’s no denying that. It’s also very educational in a way that gives you confidence in all areas of your life. It’s good to know that, if a medical emergency occurs, you can deal with it, whether you’re on duty with your squad or not.”
   Years ago, Mr. Pittore also became a member of a New Jersey task force that does search and rescue operation in urban areas. “My unit was at the World Trade Center on 9/11 with one of our dogs,” he said.
   ”There have been a lot of changes over the years,” he said. “When I first joined the squad, the training was a Red Cross first aid course. In the Seventies, we began taking the kind of intensive EMT courses that are offered now.
   ”In recent years, we had to start billing patients who ride our ambulances,” he said. “For a while, our squad paid the day crew on it own, but the volume of calls got so high we had to start billing patients.”