Jason Conway, 27, a New Paltz resident and graduate of Dutchess County Community College, was recently appointed chief of the New Paltz Rescue Squad.
Conway said he volunteered with the New Paltz Rescue Squad for seven years.
“In that time I volunteered and was moved up the ranks,” he said. “I learned on the job.”
The New Paltz Rescue Squad, according to their website, was formed in 1973. They operate six emergency vehicles including three Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances, one Basic Life Support (BLS) auto extraction rescue vehicle, one ALS emergency service vehicle and one BLS emergency service vehicle. Their main geographic area of operation is the Town and Village of New Paltz, SUNY New Paltz and a 10-mile stretch of road on the NYS thru-way. They also provide care to Mohonk Mountain House and their two elder care facilities, Woodland Pond and Mountain View Nursing Home.
Conway is an alumnus of the New Paltz Elementary School, Middle School and graduated from New Paltz High School in 2006. In 2007, while Conway was working his job as a busboy at P&G’s Restaurant, some members of the rescue squad arrived for dinner. Once he talked to them his interest was piqued, he said. He filled out an application and signed up soon afterwards.
According to The New Paltz Times, while volunteering, Conway took a “semester-long EMT class offered by the Ulster County Ambulance Association, where he worked with dummies and learned such lifesaving essentials such as CPR, bandaging techniques and ways to extricate people from wrecked cars safely.”
After volunteering for the Rescue Squad for a few years, Conway decided to attend Dutchess County Community College in 2009. He spent four semesters there in order to become a certified paramedic. Once he returned to the squad, he was hired as a paramedic and in 2013 he was promoted to assistant chief of the rescue squad.
Conway is now chief of the rescue squad with responsibilities including commanding operations, getting ambulances out the door and making sure they are able to respond to calls whenever they might come in. Conway said that the rescue squad gets “about 160 calls a month.”
Conway said that anyone interested in being involved with the rescue squad can fill out an application and volunteer.
“Follow through with it and get your foot in the door,” Conway said. “This is going to sound kind of cheesy, but the most rewarding part of my job is serving my community and helping others.”