Bed-Stuy's Own Volunteer Ambulance Corps on the Ground in Haiti
“First on the Scene” is the motto of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and they earned it when founders Rocky Robinson and Joe Perez were working without an ambulance running with oxygen tanks strapped to their backs in the organization’s fledgling days in 1988. And now in response to the Haiti earthquake, “Nobody expected us to even come close to what we have been able to do”, said an energized Rocky Robinson. “I woke up and I said I’ve trained thousands of paramedics and EMT’s and I sent out the word that we needed everybody who ever came through the BSVAC to come back now.”
It was through this network that a former member who knew Wyclef Jean told him what the BSVAC was doing, and through that connection and the Church of Scientology chartered a plane and 44 rapid-response volunteer medics, nurses and doctors left Kennedy Airport Saturday afternoon, landed at Port-au-Prince and went directly to the hospital where they cleaned the area and set up an emergency room. “They’ve set 300 fractures, delivered three babies and started IVs.”
Robinson says that hundreds of people are coming to join the Bed-Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corps to help in this effort.
“We’re like Haiti”, Rocky said, “we’re the poorest volunteer ambulance corps but we know how to work with nothing.” And when it comes to providing relief in Haiti, “We do more with a penny than others do with a dollar.”
“People are lying on the bricks right now,” says Robinson and BSVAC is putting “the help where the hurt is. The Red Cross does good work, but we’re the Black Cross and every second counts.”
Lifesaving flights like these can take off on faith but they need money for medical supplies, food and water. Donations can be made at www.bsvac.org .
David Mark Greaves