Manchester First Responders Finish Shoveling Job After Homeowner Dies

Hartford Courant

by Jesse Leavenworth

MANCHESTER — First responders who tried to save a man’s life Tuesday when he collapsed while shoveling his roof returned to the home after the man died to finish the job he started.

“In all honesty, it’s not surprising, you know, the compassion of our community and our first responders, but this to me was just amazing,” police Officer Bernie Hallums said Wednesday.

The emergency call from 12 Scott Drive came in at 9:45 a.m. Hallums said he and other police officers climbed a ladder to the roof and rendered life­saving aid, but the man remained unconscious and later died.

Later that morning, Hallums, along with Officers Adam Desso and Tomas Kazcerski, firefighters from the town and Eighth Utilities District and Ambulance Service of Manchester medics returned to the home to finish shoveling the roof. 

Read the whole story here…

Regional Food Drive – Another “Excellent” Year

hc-manchester-hunger-results-1126-20141125-001HARTFORD COURANT

Delivering donated food to the MACC Charities pantry recently are, left to right, Sean Gregg of Ambulance Service of Manchester, Rotary Club members Ana Ramos and Marty Fins and MACC Executive Director Beth Stafford. (Rick Lawrence).

By Jesse Leavenworth

NOVEMBER 25, 2014, 1:27 PM

Read the full, original article here…

The Emergency of Hunger drive collected nearly 40,000 food items, an outpouring of generosity that an organizer characterized as “excellent” and a good gauge of citizens’ holiday spirit.

The regional collection by police, fire and emergency medical agencies and Rotary Club members benefits food pantries in Manchester, Vernon, South Windsor, Rocky Hill and Windsor.

Conducted over the past two weekends,the drive took in 39,956 food items, $23,839.80 in cash, checks and gift cards and 788 turkeys, organizer Dave Skoczulek of Ambulance Service of Manchester said Tuesday.

“It was an excellent year, once again surpassing our expectations,” Skoczulek said.
Collections in each town go to pantries that serve those towns. The drive provides a big lift to pantry stocks, not just for the holidays, but sometimes extending into February, pantry
representatives said. Organizers said the need has not diminished since the first drive in 2009.

The drive’s six ­year totals, which Skoczulek reported Tuesday, were 186,956 food items, $120,025.80 in cash, checks and gift cards and 5,498 turkeys.

“Emergency Of Hunger” Food Drive Begins Saturday

Emergency response agency and food pantry representatives gathered Thursday at the Hockanum Valley Community Council in Vernon to kick off the Emergency of Hunger Food Drive. (Jesse Leavenworth/The Hartford Courant)

Emergency response agency and food pantry representatives gathered Thursday at the Hockanum Valley Community Council in Vernon to kick off the Emergency of Hunger Food Drive. (Jesse Leavenworth/The Hartford Courant)


by Jesse Leavenworth

VERNON — Emergency response agencies in the region are teaming up again to boost food supplies for poor and struggling residents. Read the full article here…

Police, fire, emergency medical services and Rotary Club representatives gathered Thursday at the Hockanum Valley Community Council to kick off the Emergency of Hunger Food Drive. Collections are set for Saturday and Sunday at supermarkets in Manchester, South Windsor, Vernon and Rocky Hill. Collections in Windsor, Manchester and Rocky Hill also are scheduled for Nov. 22-23.

Now in its sixth year, the drive has collected a total of 147,000 food and personal care items, 4,170 turkeys and about $96,000 in cash, checks and gift cards, organizer Dave Skoczulek of the Ambulance Service of Manchester said. Collections in each town go to pantries that serve those towns, Skoczulek said.

Full article here…

Following are locations and dates for collections (locations are Stop & Shop supermarkets, unless otherwise noted):

  • Manchester, 286 Broad St. — Saturday and Sunday and Nov. 22-23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Rockville section of Vernon, 50 Windsorville Road — Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Rocky Hill, 80 Town Line Road — Saturday and Sunday and Nov. 22-23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Vernon, 10 Pitkin Road — Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • South Windsor, 1739 Ellington Road — Nov 22-23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • South Windsor, (Geissler’s Supermarket) 965 Sullivan Ave. — Nov 22-23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Windsor, 1095 Kennedy Road — Nov. 22-23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Born Rolling Down I-84

Reunited two months after Kyra Deschene's birth on I-84, (l-r) Jamie and Andy Deschene, ASM paramedic supervisor Beth Sheils, holding Kyra, and ASM emergency medical technician Julie Bissell. (Jesse Leavenworth/The Hartford Courant)

Reunited two months after Kyra Deschene’s birth on I-84, (l-r) Jamie and Andy Deschene, ASM paramedic supervisor Beth Sheils, holding Kyra, and ASM emergency medical technician Julie Bissell. (Jesse Leavenworth/The Hartford Courant)

By Jesse Leavenworth


MANCHESTER — Andy and Jamie Deschene had to make a quick decision on the night of Sept. 5.

Pregnant with her second child, but not due to deliver until Nov. 9, Jamie Deschene, 30, was having labor contractions when she called Andy at work and told him to hurry home. A doctor at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford told the couple that if they could make it to the hospital from their Bolton home in 20 minutes, they could drive. If not, the physician advised, call an ambulance.

Jamie’s water had not broken, and the Deschenes decided to drive. Her water broke on I-384 near the Spencer Street exit.

Soon after, the infant’s feet emerged, and the couple were faced with a potentially dangerous breach birth in their car. Andy pulled off on Exit 56 of I-84 and called 911. The off-ramp was soon bustling with state troopers, East Hartford firefighters and medics from Ambulance Service of Manchester.

Pregnant herself, ASM emergency medical technician Julie Bissell had answered four or five maternity calls within the past month. Each patient’s due date was closer than the one before, Bissell said. On the last call before the Deschenes’ emergency, the woman’s water broke on the ambulance stretcher.

Andy Deschene made his 911 call at 7:42 p.m. Within minutes, East Hartford firefighter/paramedic Tamarah Collins and firefighter Judith Geier joined Bissell and ASM paramedic supervisor Beth Sheils at the scene. They secured Jamie Deschene for transport and headed to Hartford. Read the rest of the story here…

Manchester Man Charged With Hit And Run After School Bus Accident

MANCHESTER — After ramming his car into the rear of a school bus Tuesday evening, a local man drove away and then tried to lie about the accident, police said.

No one was seriously hurt.

Allan Perry, 27, of Oak Street, was charged with various motor vehicle violations, including evading responsibility. Perry, who was not hurt, was being held Tuesday night at the police station, Lt. David Ellsworth said.

The accident happened at about 4:55 p.m. at Main and Center streets. The driver of a 2010 Chevrolet Impala hit the rear end of a school bus carrying eight children, ages 10-14, Ellsworth said. The children complained of bumped heads and headaches, but none required hospitalization, he said.

Read the full article here…

Injured Manchester EMT Focus Of Fundraising

Carolyn Edwards 2

Carolyn Edwards in a photo taken last fall. She is holding Britton, a family friend’s daughter. (Doug Edwards / May 22, 2014)


by Jesse Leavenworth

MANCHESTER — Friends, coworkers and teammates are rallying in support of Carolyn Edwards, a beloved emergency medical technician who was badly hurt in a recent motorcycle accident.

“The reason everybody descended on this is that she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet,” Ambulance Service of Manchester spokesman Dave Skoczulek said Thursday. “I’ve never heard her say a negative thing. She’s one of those people who’s always laughing, positive, upbeat. When this happened, it made a mess out of everybody and they came together as fast as they could.”

Read the original Courant article here…

Edwards, 36, of Manchester, was driving her motorcycle on East Center Street on the morning of May 6 when she collided with a car at the Vernon Street intersection, police have said. She was treated for head and arm injuries in the intensive care unit at Hartford Hospital, but was recently transferred to a rehabilitation facility.

Along with ASM, other organizations raising money to support Edwards’ family and help pay her medical bills include sports teams she belongs to, including the Hartford Wild Roses Women’s Rugby Team. The team is selling t-shirts with “#Carolynstrong” printed on the back. To purchase a t-shirt or a #carolynstrong bracelet, visit

ASM employees also have been raising money through “cold water challenges,” which involve immersion in swimming pools and other chilly bodies of water. The company’s president and CEO, Wayne Wright, recently took part in one such challenge (see the video at

Edwards, who was born in New York City, moved with her family to Manchester as a young girl and graduated from Manchester High School, ASM paramedic Kenya Russell said. Edwards, who is single and has no children, has been working for ASM for about five years. Russell said the two were frequent partners.

“She is consistently kind all the time, no matter what the scenario is,” Russell said. “We have stressful scenarios, but she’s always smiling.”

“She was like that as a little kid,” Edwards’ uncle, Doug Edwards, said.

Little by little, Edwards said, his niece’s condition is improving. Her great physical shape before the accident and the many friends she has made are helping, he said..

“Between her physical stamina and her relationships with people, I think that’s really the thing that makes her recovery go well,” Edwards said.

When Carolyn Edwards regains her health, friends plan to convert the fundraising organization they started after the accident into a standing foundation to benefit all emergency medical service workers in the state who face similar crises, Russell said.

Regional Food Drive In Manchester Considered A Success

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The Hartford Courant

4:57 p.m. EST, November 25, 2013

MANCHESTER — A regional food drive in its fifth year tallied “phenomenal” results, an organizer announced Monday.

The Emergency of Hunger drive, run by emergency response agencies and Rotary Club members, gathered 38,309 food items, $24,143 in cash, checks and gift cards and 596 turkeys, event organizer Dave Skoczulek said.

Donations were gathered at supermarkets in Manchester, South Windsor, Vernon, Windsor and Enfield, the latest community to join the effort. The donations go to food pantries and shelters in each town.

“Because we keep adding towns and changing hours and tinkering with the format, it’s hard to say if it was the biggest year,” Skoczulek said. “But I would say it was the best year. We had the most fun, brought in a huge amount, had the best interactions with the public and saw the biggest desire to give.”

Over the past five years, the drive has tallied 147,000 food items, $96,186 in donations and 4,170 turkeys.

Read the Courant article by clicking here…

Emergency Of Hunger Food Drive Starts In Four Towns


The Hartford Courant

3:37 p.m. EST, November 15, 2013

Read the Courant version here…

Food Drive 2013

MANCHESTER — Emergency responders and Rotary Club members launched a regional drive Friday to collect food and other donations for needy people.

This is the fifth year of the Emergency of Hunger Food Drive. Representatives of police, fire and ambulance agencies, Rotary Club members and pantry managers from Manchester, South Windsor and Vernon gathered Friday at Manchester Area Conference of Churches Charities to kick off the drive.

Volunteers in those towns, Enfield and Windsor collect food and monetary donations at area supermarkets. In the past five years, the drive has gathered about 108,000 food and personal care items, 4,100 turkeys and more than $75,000 in cash, checks and gift cards, organizers said.

All collections are to be held at Stop & Shop supermarkets, except one at Geissler’s Supermarket in South Windsor. Dates and times for the collections are:

Manchester — Saturday and Sunday and Nov. 23 and 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 286 Broad St.

Enfield — Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 54 Hazard Ave.

Rockville — Nov. 23 and 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 50 Windsorville Road

Vernon — Nov. 23 and 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 10 Pitkin Road

South Windsor — Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 the Stop & Shop at 1739 Ellington Road and on the same days and times at Geissler’s Supermarket, 965 Sullivan Ave.

Windsor held its collection earlier this month, organizers said.

All food and donations go to food banks in the towns where they are donated, organizers said.

“In other words, everything stays local so that neighbors are helping neighbors,” organizer David Skoczulek of Ambulance Service of Manchester wrote in a news release.

ASM to Appear in Manchester Fire Department Parade Sunday

The Hartford Courant 6:00 p.m. EDT, October 8, 2013

Credit – Hartford Courant

MANCHESTER — In a show of pride and a celebration of history, the Eighth Utilities District Manchester Fire Department will hold a parade Sunday.

The 125th anniversary parade is scheduled to step off at 1 p.m. with lights flashing, sirens wailing, bagpipes and drums sounding and firefighters from throughout the region marching in full dress uniform.

Among the 40 contingents slated to march, most represent fire departments, parade Chairman and Eight District firefighter Ryan Bilodeau said. Marchers will include first responders from the Manchester Police Department and Ambulance Service of Manchester, along with the Manchester Regional Police & Fire Pipe Band and the Patriot Guard Riders.

Read the whole article here…

Hartford Courant: Manchester Ambulance Company Changes Fleet

Mercedes Sprinter ambulance, left. and Ford ambulance. Ambulance Service of Manchester has almost completed a fleet change from the Fords to the Mercedes emergency vehicles. (Ambulance Service of Manchester / July 25, 2013)

Mercedes Sprinter ambulance, left. and Ford ambulance. Ambulance Service of Manchester has almost completed a fleet change from the Fords to the Mercedes emergency vehicles. (Ambulance Service of Manchester / July 25, 2013)

3:24 p.m. EDT, July 25, 2013

by Jesse Leavenworth

MANCHESTER — A local ambulance company has made a substantial investment in its fleet over the past four years, gradually replacing Fords with what is now a German/American emergency vehicle.

Ambulance Service of Manchester is among the first medical response companies of its size in the nation to switch its line to Sprinter ambulances, ASM spokesman Dave Skoczulek said Thursday. Sprinters had been a Dodge product, but are now part of the Mercedes-Benz line.

At the end of the month, the company will have replaced 27 of its 28 ambulances with Sprinters. The only remaining Ford will be the company’s bariatric ambulance, which is equipped to handle heavy patients.

The diesel-powered Mercedes ambulances get three to four miles more per gallon than the Ford E-350 vans they replaced, have more head-room can remain in service longer with less maintenance and are equipped with a stablity system that the Fords lacked, Skoczulek said. Another advantage is the Sprinter’s sliding side door, a roadside safety improvement over the Fords, which had swing-out side doors.

The Sprinters arrive from Germany as spare vans and are outfitted as ambulances by North Carolina-based American Emergency Vehicles. The Dodge and Mercedes Sprinters have cost as much as $20,000 more than the $56,000 Fords, Skoczulek said, “but we felt that the improved gas mileage and decreased maintenance was worth the investment.”

“We didn’t expect to have to change after decades working in Fords,” he said, “but when the landscape shifted, we didn’t see anything comparable to the Sprinters as an overall package.” Read the story at The Hartford Courant

ASM Responds: Winter Storm Charlotte

The Hartford Courant


MANCHESTER — Read the whole article here…Private ambulance providers had similar difficulties. Prevented from close access to many homes, medics had to carry patients, in some cases for 100 yards or more, through thigh-deep snow, Dave Skoczulek, spokesman for Ambulance Service of Manchester and Aetna Ambulance Service, said Monday.

Ambulances mired on roadsides and stuck in deep snow banks had to be pulled out with a four-wheel drive paramedic intercept vehicle. Total calls were less than normal, Skoczulek said, “but each call was typically more severe and took much, much more effort and much longer to complete.”

Ambulance Service of Manchester Mercedes Sprinter AmbulanceAt the height of the storm, a patient with chest pains had to be taken from Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. A physician arranged for a plow to escort the ambulance, and there were many other stories of plows paving the way for emergency medical personnel, Skoczulek said.

Another crew in a heavy ambulance equipped with tire chains could not make it over impassable roads with a critical care patient aboard, Skoczulek said. The crew got help from Manchester police and residents, who came over with shovels and snowblowers, he said. Eventually, a backhoe from Ansaldi Construction winched the ambulance back onto a cleared road surface, Skoczulek said.

Heavy Lifting For Ambulance Crews

Obesity Epidemic Is Changing Emergency Medical Transport

By JESSE LEAVENWORTH, The Hartford Courant

October 20, 2012

Brian Langan Ambulance Service of Manchester

Emergency medical technicians have long shared a Murphy’s Law kind of reckoning about obese patients: for every additional floor in a building, the patient will weigh 100 more pounds.

It’s dark humor among men and women with an often grim, strenuous job, but obesity rates are rising throughout the state and nation, and a recently released report says the ranks of the morbidly obese will continue to balloon.

The task of transporting patients who weigh at least 100 pounds more than they should is now a daily reality in Connecticut and throughout the nation. The job strains ambulance crews, causing widespread back injuries, and piles financial burdens on both volunteer companies and professional providers.

“We’ve always had to deal with big people,” said Glenn Luedtke,safety committee chairman of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, “but nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see someone who’s 300 pounds into the 400-pound range.” Continue reading

Stryker Power Stretcher System Deployed on Bariatric Ambulances

The safest bariatric ambulance loading system in use today. 

POWER Load Stretcher - ASM Aetna Ambulance

HARTFORD and MANCHESTER, Connecticut — On October 1, 2012, Aetna Ambulance and the Ambulance Service of Manchester installed and deployed Stryker Power-LOAD stretcher lift systems in each of the company’s two bariatric ambulances. 

Capable of lifting a maximum patient weight of 700 pounds, it is the company’s firm belief that the Stryker Power LOAD is the safest overall bariatric ambulance equipment for a number of reasons:

  • Power-LOAD is the best product for protecting the dignity  of  the patient. There are no industrial winches or uneven, ten foot track systems. There is no large rear deployment area that has the patient sitting out exposed to the elements.
  • Power-LOAD is the best system for protecting the well-being of the ambulance crew. Patient and stretcher lifting is done entirely by the powered system and not by the backs of the crew. The system reduces stretcher drops and makes the best use of its low center of gravity.
  • Power-LOAD is the best method for healthcare facilities as it is not large and unwieldy. It is easy to maneuver and fits into any space where a standard stretcher would fit.

Equipping our bariatric units with the Power-LOAD stretcher lift system is part of Aetna and ASM’s long-term commitment to the safety of our patients and employees. 

Read the Hartford Courant Article here: Ambulance Service Of Manchester And Aetna Ambulance Get New Equipment For Obese Patients…

Continue reading

ASM Responds: Car Crash in Manchester

Ambulance Service of Manchester (ASM)
(Photo Courtesy of Hartford Courant)


MANCHESTER— Three people were taken away by ambulance after an accident on Tolland Turnpike Wednesday afternoon.

The injuries were non-life threatening, police said. Two vehicles had heavy front-end damage. Police traffic Sgt. Hank Minor said speeding and inattentive driving caused the accident. A driver of a third car involved in the accident would be cited, Minor said. Read the full Courant article here… Continue reading

ASM Responds: Students Hospitalized After Crash With Police Cruiser

ASM Responds: Accident involving police cruiser and teenagers

ASM Responds: Accident involving police cruiser and teenagers

— Four Manchester High School students were slightly injured when a police cruiser collided with their car Tuesday, officials said.

The driver of the Oldsmobile sedan may have been pulling out of a curbside parking space, or making a u-turn in the road when the cruiser struck the driver’s side, Police Chief Marc Montminy said, but investigators are still gathering information. Read the full Hartford Courant article here…

More pictures in full blog post… Continue reading