Springfield resident challenges EMS editorial EDITOR:

Springfield residentchallenges EMS editorialEDITOR:
I am writing in response to the editorial published in The Vindicator on July 16, titled "Public property use should be limited." I would like to provide you with some facts about Springfield Township EMS.
I have personally had to call the ambulance numerous times in the past due to my husband's illness. There was no out-of-pocket expense for my family. Springfield Twp. EMS bills insurance companies only; if a resident does not have insurance, there is no charge for the service. Not only have they treated my husband, but they were at the house fire at my parents' home on Christmas morning and treated my father. Not only has Karen responded to these ambulance calls, but to well-being checks to which she was called through her personal phone.
I am insulted that you put irrelevant opinions about overpaid government employees in an article about our community's volunteer personnel. Springfield Twp EMTs are paid per transported call. However, Karen T. Philibin does not receive pay for these transported calls. She receives an extremely small flat-rate monthly wage in return for all of her time, responsibilities and services. When her time coordinating the EMTs and serving on the ambulance is calculated, her salary is less than minimum wage. As for the claim that these & quot;government officials & quot; receive high-quality benefit packages, these volunteers receive no benefits. Pay per transported call began in June 2004; volunteers with previous years of service have lost years in OPERS retirement funds. When fire and EMS personnel respond to one of your calls, they do not only give of their time, but also their education, knowledge and personal expenses including gas and vehicle expenses. You say, & quot;So what? & quot; Can you put a price on the lives they touch?
As for & quot;'using one's public position for personal gain,' & quot; I would beg to differ. Is personal gain getting up at 3 o'clock in the morning to comfort an elderly person and still having to get up and go to work in the morning? Or leaving your family's Christmas dinner to go to a fatal accident? What about a mother whose baby has just died from SIDS?
I would have to say that the gain in some cases is only sadness and heartbreak. On a good day, the only thing Philibin and our other volunteer EMTs are gaining is the satisfaction of helping someone in need.
Springfield Twp.
Wagon Trails preserveoffers great family fun
With the cost of gas being ridiculously high and the cost of admission to family-oriented theme parks being even more so, it's getting harder and harder to find good, affordable family entertainment and still have money left over to buy groceries, etc.
Imagine my surprise when I found such entertainment, and it's practically in our back yard!! It's an animal preserve called Wagon Trails, and it's located on the lower portion of Belmont Avenue (state Route. 193) going towards the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. For a low admission price, you are treated to an hour-long safari ride that makes several stops along the way so that you can feed various animals.
We had a very informative, pleasant guide who obviously loved her work and who was very proud of the preserve's accomplishments. After the ride, the children got to visit the petting zoo.
We ended up, of course, in the gift shop where souvenirs of the experience were very reasonably priced. I do not know anyone involved in the operation of this preserve. But I felt so moved by the experience and by watching the faces of my three granddaughters light up as the animals approached the safari truck that I felt it would be a shame not to let other cash-strapped families know that there really is good, clean, wholesome family fun available without costing an arm and a leg as well as a tank of gas.