Courage is the fundamental DNA of all emergency medical responders, including — and most especially in 2020 and 2021 — the bravery to treat a patient in a call that may involve exposure to the coronavirus. For Town of Catskill Ambulance workers, that courage will soon be rewarded.

Catskill ambulance workers will receive a one-time stipend of $1,000 for their labor during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In November, the Catskill Town Board approved $38,250 in stipends for a total of 65 employees, including full-time and part-time workers, the money to come from the town’s pool of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The town received $385,639 in its first allocation of funding, with the second half due in the summer of 2022 for a total of $771,279. Town officials decided to use a portion of the federal funding to reward employees who continued to put their own lives on the line during the height of the pandemic.

The town is giving its full-time ambulance employees a stipend of $1,000, while part-time ambulance employees will receive checks for $500. Employees in multiple town departments will receive stipends of varying amounts. The first checks to town employees are scheduled to go out in the next week.

It’s crystal clear that Catskill’s ambulance corps has done an incredible job over the last 18 months. They kept the local government employees healthy and working. They treated the sick and injured in their homes. They transported people of all ages to hospitals across the region. Catskill’s ambulance service went above and beyond the call of duty in all phases of its operation. Their dedication got us through the worst of the pandemic. It was a frightening time. Clearly, they ran toward potential danger when most if not all of us would shrink from it. The stipends may be small, but they are vivid expressions of our gratitude for a job well done under impossible conditions.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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