CPMU EMT Serves on Medical Team at Rio Olympics

CPMU EMT Corey Hamel has returned from a two-week deployment to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a volunteer on the Field of Play Athletes Medical Team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. In this capacity, Corey worked as a medic at the Canoe Slalom event at Whitewater Stadium and the Cycling BMX event at the X-Park, both part of the Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio.

In order to be chosen as a volunteer Corey participated in a rigorous interview and selection process based on his experience and skill set. As a part of the Rio2016 medical team, Corey provided volunteer emergency medical care to Olympian competitors during these events, all of which were extreme tests of fitness and endurance.

A select 4,000 of the 70,000 volunteers and employees at Rio2016 were medical personnel, consisting of paid and volunteer doctors, physiotherapists, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and technicians. There were 146 advanced life support ambulances throughout the competition and one medevac helicopter specifically for the Deodoro complex due to the high-risk nature of the extreme events at that location.


Dutch Red Cross Bicycle Team Patrols with CPMU

New York, NY May 17th, 2015 – In celebration of both National Bike Month and National EMS Week, the CPMU Bicycle Emergency Bicycle Team (BERT) conducted a joint patrol with the Dutch Red Cross First Aid Bike Team on May 16, 2015 in Central Park. Members of the Dutch Red Cross will participate in the Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York cycling event on May 17, 2015. The CPMU BERT team took this opportunity to share best practices, explain the operations of the unit and the geography of Central Park.

Representing CPMU was EMT Jonathan Ehrlich and EMT Adam Fried. From the Dutch Red Cross was national Bicycle Team Coordinator for the Netherlands, Beach Post Scheveningen Coordinator and Bike4Bike Red Cross Netherlands Gran Fondo New York Team leader Jeroen Veenestra.

The CPMU BERT team is a rapid-response bicycle EMS unit composed of two EMTs on bicycles that are able to deliver rapid lifesaving emergency medical services in New York City’s famous Central Park. CPMU’s Bike EMS teams enable EMTs to quickly reach patients who may be located in an area not accessible by a vehicle. Bikes are also used during special events, quickly getting emergency medical care to patients in need. EMS Bikes are equipped with a basic trauma bag, oxygen, and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). As Bike EMS teams respond to requests for assistance, a CPMU ambulance is also dispatched so that the patient may be transported to the hospital, if necessary.

The Red Cross First Aid Bike Response Team (Nederlandse Rode Kruis Bike-Platform) is a nationwide program run by the Dutch Red Cross supporting bicycle based first aid teams for special events in the Netherlands.

Outpouring of support after devastating fire destroys CPMU ambulances, support still needed

New York, NY, November 24, 2014 – In the aftermath of a devastating fire that destroyed two-thirds of Central Park Medical Unit’s ambulance fleet, the agency has been the recipient of an outpouring of support from the community.

Within hours of the news of the fire, a Crowdrise fundraising campaign began accepting donations online, aimed at making up the gap between the expected insurance recovery and the actual replacement cost of the vehicles and equipment. By Monday morning–less than 4 days after the fire–the campaign had received over $40,000 from 180 individual donors. This is more than 25% of CPMU’s goal to raise $150,000 — the funding necessary to cover the gap between expected insurance payments and the cost of 2 replacement ambulances. To help CPMU achieve its goal, donate via Crowdrise.

Also within a day of the fire, both the NorthShore-LIJ Health System and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital contacted CPMU with offers to donate loaner ambulances to CPMU. “These tremendous offers of support allow us to get back on our feet quickly while we make more permanent arrangements to replace the custom-built vehicles,” said CPMU President Rafael Castellanos. Castellanos reported that both NorthShore-LIJ and NewYork-Presbyterian are also in the process of re-striping the vehicles to carry CPMU’s name, at no cost to the Medical Unit. “I am simply floored by their generosity.”

CPMU announces Community Service Award

New York, NY October 15, 2014 – Central Park Medical Unit recently announced the creation of a “Community Service Award,” in order to recognize certain CPMU volunteers who have gone above and beyond to provide outstanding service to the Medical Unit and to the community at large. Several local restaurants and retail outlets have partnered with CPMU to act as sponsors for the award. Those interested in sponsoring future awards should contact logistics@cpmu.com.

The list of award recipients can be found here.

CPMU Mourns the Passing of Long-Time Member Brennon Jones

Brennon Jones, a long-time journalist, UN peacekeeper and spokesperson in Southeast Asian conflict zones, and member of the board of directors of the Central Park Medical Unit, an all volunteer ambulance, passed away on February 2nd in the comfort of his home with loved ones at his side after a nearly five year battle with cancer.

Brennon graduated from Lake Forest College in 1968 with a degree in Art History and was chosen to participate in the first Whitney Museum of Art Independent Study Program. He was active in the civil rights movement throughout college, even traveling to Mississippi in the Spring of 1965 to help with voter registration.

Upon graduation, Brennon was confronted with a decision of what his role would be in the Vietnam War. While facing the draft, he filed as a conscientious objector, with one small twist. He wanted to serve his two years alternative service in the war zone of Vietnam – not in the United States. He was hired by Vietnam Christian Service, a humanitarian relief organization. Brennon quickly learned Vietnamese on his arrival in Saigon. Over the course of two years, he worked as an information officer, journalist, and photographer, filing articles on the refuge crisis and the damaging social, economic and physical effects of the war on the Vietnamese people. He also worked for a year as a social worker in Tra Bong, a remote, war torn district of Quang Ngai Province helping Vietnamese and Montagnards with life-threatening injuries get transport to the provincial hospital. As the Tra Bong district was surrounded by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers, an island unto itself, Brennon brokered with US helicopter pilots to get seriously injured patients to Quang City and the Provincial Hospital.

Brennon always said that his experience with the Vietnamese and Montagnard communities set the trajectory of his life and he often returned to Tra Bong to visit his lifelong friends.

On his return to New York in 1971, Brennon was hired by CBS News as a researcher/reporter specializing on Indochina affairs mainly for the then young “60 Minutes” program. A little more than a year later, he left CBS at the request of Peter Davis an Emmy Award producer/director to produce “Hearts and Minds”, a documentary film about the effect of the American-Vietnamese conflict on U.S. soldiers and the Vietnamese. The film won an Academy Award in 1974.

Afterwards, he worked in East Timor, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Thailand and elsewhere in South and Southeast Asia with the United Nations. He served as senior editor/director of the Office for South and Southeast Asia for the Integrated Regional Information Networks, the United Nations humanitarian news service.

Brennon was a driver and crew chief with the Central Park Medical Unit for over 20 years, and also served as a member of the board of directors. He helped train generations of EMT’s and paramedics, many of whom continued on to careers as physicians and other health professionals. Between his missions abroad, he would spend time with this all volunteer organization caring for those who need medical assistance in New York City’s Central Park.

He is survived by his brothers Ross and Timothy Jones, sister Eleanor Panasevich, many nieces and nephews, and partner Amara Techaratanachai.

A Memorial Service / Celebration of his Life will be held on Sunday, February 16th, at 11:00am at the Interchurch Center, located at 475 Riverside Drive in New York. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Central Park Medical Unit.

When Seconds Count: American Heart Association Recognizes CPMU for Saving a Life

New York, NY, June 28, 2013 – A typical tranquil morning in Central Park, CPMU had all its ambulances, its Polaris Ranger, and its Bicycle Emergency Response Team on hand for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.  At approximately 8:30 AM a call was dispatched for an unconscious person near the East Drive at 66th Street.  A CPMU ambulance arrived on the scene within 3 minutes, where volunteer EMTs Garry Resnick, Rafael Castellanos, and Danny Poon, found a gentleman in cardiac arrest.  The crew promptly provided several shocks to the patient via an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and continued CPR started by bystanders.

Minutes later, the crew was assisted by additional resources from CPMU, FDNY, and NYPD.  EMS paramedics worked alongside the CPMU EMTs to continue CPR, defibrillation, and advanced cardiac life support while enroute to a local hospital.

Nearly 6 weeks later, the patient was discharged from the hospital and is well on his way to a full recovery!

“The way that all of the units were able to come together was remarkable,” commented CPMU’s VP Operations Garry Resnick.  “When you learn about the treatment for cardiac arrest, you learn that rapid care and the immediate use of an AED is very significant in determining the patient’s outcome.  Early CPR, early defibrillation, and incredible team work led to this patient’s survival.”

Congratulations are also in order to the bystanders who started CPR and called 911, and to all the other units who assisted on this call.  On Tuesday, June 25th, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association presented Garry, Rafael, and Danny with the New York City Heart Saver Award.

For almost 40 years, the Central Park Medical Unit has been at the front lines of emergency medical services providing compassionate and free care to Central Park visitors, and the larger New York City community in times of need.  At your side when seconds count, the Central Park Medical Unit boasts one of the fastest ambulance response times in New York State.  CPMU is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.  All donations go directly to support our free life-saving mission.  Click here to support CPMU.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Commends CPMU

City Hall, New York, March 12, 2013 Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg issued a commendation letter to the Central Park Medical Unit for “its tremendous efforts to protect the health and safety of the people of New York City.”

Mayor Bloomberg cited the Medical Unit’s volunteers for their consistent commitment to making Central Park and all of New York a better place to live and visit. While the Mayor knows of the heroic actions of CPMU’s volunteers spanning decades, the activities of the Medical Unit caught national and international attention during Hurricane Sandy when volunteers worked around the clock helping with the emergency evacuation of the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, NYU Langone Hospital, nursing homes in the Rockaways and Bellevue Hospital.

During Hurricane Sandy, the Central Park Medical Unit worked together with the New York City Office of Emergency Management, the New York Police Department, the FDNY-EMS Division and the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City to serve communities across the five boroughs. The Mayor’s Commendation comes on the heels of White House recognition of long time CPMU volunteer, Rafael Castellanos. President Obama conferred the highest volunteer award available, the President’s Call to Service Award in January 2013.  For the full text of the Mayor’s Commendation, please click here.

For almost 40 years the Central Park Medical Unit has been the front line emergency medical service providing compassionate and free care in State record time to Central Park visitors and in times of emergency to the larger New York City community. The Central Park Medical Unit is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation.  All donations are go directly to the operation of the Unit.  Click here to support CPMU.

The White House Recognizes and Awards Longtime Volunteer Rafael Castellanos

New York, NY January 8, 2013 At the Arsenal Building, headquarters of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, The President of the United States, Barack Obama, in his written remarks which were read to an assembled group  at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Central Park Precinct Community Council attended by many community leaders, as well as NYPD Chief of Manhattan North, William Morris; Inspector Raul Pintos representing Chief of Community Affairs, Philip Banks; Commanding Officer of the Central Park Precinct, Jessica Corey; Central Park Precinct Community Council President, Roger Thomas; members of the Community Council and a very surprised President of the Central Park Medical Unit, Rafael Castellanos. President Obama in his written statement recalled his first Inaugural Address where he stated, “We need a new era of responsibility – a recognition on the part of every American that we have a duty to ourselves, our Nation, and the world.” “These are duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firmly in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit than giving our all to a difficult task.”

The President further wrote, “Thank you for your devotion to service and for doing all you can to shape a better tomorrow for our great Nation.” “Congratulations on receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award and thank you for helping to address the most pressing needs in your community and our country.” President Obama conferred the “President’s Call to Service Award” which is the highest award possible recognizing volunteers for their life time of service.

Rafael Castellanos, who has performed 40 years of volunteer public service, accepted the award on behalf of all the members of the Central Park Medical Unit. CPMU is a diverse group of more than 150 volunteers which not only acts as the frontline emergency medical response for Central Park’s 40 million visitors but in times of crisis responds to citywide disasters. The Medical Unit responds to emergencies in State record time and their expert care is totally free of charge to all the patients it serves. In addition, CPMU acts as a training ground for many future, EMTs, paramedics, nurses and physicians.

For more information on the Central Park Medical Unit please visit www.cpmu.com.

NYPD Community Council Awards CPMU Members for Hurricane Sandy Response

New York, NY January 8th, 2013 – The Central Park Police Precinct Community Council presented awards to the 27 CPMU members who provided services during Hurricane Sandy. On hand were NYPD Chief William Morris and NYPD Captain Jessica Corey, both of whom praised the work of CPMU during the Hurricane.

Congratulations to the members who received awards: Brian Goldberg, Channa Wooten, Gabriel Tissian, Garry Resnick, George Contreras, Greg Levow, Joel Rowe, Jonathan Ehrlich, Kate Ague-Kneeland, Kellene Mullin, Marc Musicus, Mark Sanders, Matt Labunka, Matthew Tirschwell, Maggie Dicks, Megan Flynn, Miguel Gomez Marshall, Rafael Castellanos, Rafael Castellanos Jr., Roger Smith, Roger Thomas, Sam Bruce, Staley Dietrich, Steve Peluso, Dan Peneyra, Tareek Propst.

Additional information detailing CPMU’s response to Hurricane Sandy is available here.

The White House Recognizes and Awards Longtime Volunteer Rafael Castellanos

The White House Recognizes and Awards Longtime Volunteer Rafael Castellanos

President Obama honored CPMU Rafael Castellanos for a life of service saying, “Thank you for your devotion to service and for doing all you can to shape a better tomorrow for our great Nation.” “Congratulations on receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award and thank you for helping to address the most pressing needs in your community and our country.” President Obama conferred the “President’s Call to Service Award”