When the Galloway Township Police Department found last month that its automated external defibrillators were nearing the end of their 10-year lifespan, they turned to the community for assistance.
Assist it did - and quickly too.
At the June 26 meeting of the Galloway Township Council, Galloway Ambulance Squad Chief Charles Uhl announced that community members and organizations responded to the township's request, furnishing five defibrillators, or AEDs, and donated enough cash to purchase six more.
"We received some anonymous donations and some donations from community members, people wrote us letters," Uhl said. "The support from the community, it was amazing. The very next day, we started receiving donations into it."
In addition to the funds raised, which will go towards the purchase of four defibrillators, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center presented the township with five defibrillators, and the Four Seasons 55+ community gave Mayor Don Purdy a check worth $2,500 - enough to purchase two of the devices.
Jerry Hauselt, president of the Four Seasons' Homeowners Association, said when he read about the township's need, he suggested to the leaders of the community's charity-minded Bingo Bonanza group that it raise funds. After one Sunday night bingo game, they had raised all they needed.
"We love our community," Hauselt said. "People move here because it's a nice place to live, so we're protecting ourselves and our community, everyone in it. There was never a question. The community needs some help, and we thought we could offer it."
For the Four Seasons and AtlantiCare, the donation of the defibrillators helps themselves, too. The Four Seasons, Uhl said, is a frequent destination for the first responders in whose vehicles these defibrillators will go, and having a well-equipped first responder force serving the community will allow AtlantiCare to save more lives.
AtlantiCare spokeswoman Jennifer Tornetta said the organization was glad to give back to the community that has been home to its Mainland campus for decades.
"We learned from Galloway that they had a need," Tornetta said. "We have seen the lifesaving difference AEDs can make in the community, and that's why we responded to that need, and we also laud the other community members who made donations."
The AEDs were purchased through funds from the AtlantiCare Foundation, which donates money to initiatives and groups in the community. To donate, or for more information on the foundation, call 888-569-1000.
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