Tag Archives: Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Mother wants deceased EMS son recognized as 9/11 public servant


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

Dorie Pearlman sat in her Howard Beach home and combed through binders of records about her son, Richard Pearlman, who lost his life in the 9/11 attacks.

Over a decade after his life was taken, and countless media outlets and some elected officials jumped in, his mother continues to question why her EMS son is not recognized as a public servant after voluntarily running to help when the World Trade Center came down.

“I know my son. If someone needed help, he’d find a way to get down there,” Dorie said. “His life’s mission was to help people.”

Richard, who had a longstanding history with the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps, was photographed bringing people out of the Towers. But one last time, he did not come back out. He was missing for over a week before Dorie “knew he wasn’t coming home.”

Seven months later, Richard’s body was discovered amongst the rubble. He was carried out wrapped in an American flag and awarded the Medal of Valor as an emergency service officer, an honor only given to public service employees, Dorie said.

Since then, despite compensation funds and several awards of recognition, Dorie has continually applied to grant her son a Public Servant title through the Department of Justice (DOJ), and has continually been shot down.

“He got the award, and now you’re denying me the title,” Dorie said. “The same thing you’re denying me, you also awarded me. It’s irrational.”

The title would allow the Pearlmans compensation for losing their son, but Dorie said she persistently applies “for the principle.”

Because Richard was young—18—and only a volunteer, not a city employee, the DOJ said he does not qualify, according to Dorie.

“It was a state of emergency and everybody was called to help. In that moment, they became official public servants,” she said. “I have all the proof they want. I have pictures, I have letters.”

“I don’t know where to go anymore. I’ve applied to everyone in the world,” she said. “People say you get over it, but you never get over it. You learn to deal with it.”

The DOJ did not immediately respond to request for comment.

 

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Star of Queens: Felix Cabrera, EMT crew chief/PR officer, Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Community Service: Felix Cabrera has been an emergency medical technician, or EMT, for six years. He has also volunteered with the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps (FHVAC) for the past two years.

“I love it, I really enjoy being a part of the Forest Hills community,” he said. “It’s like a second family.”

Cabrera was recently promoted from EMT attendant to crew chief, a position that comes with more responsibilities. He recently became the public relations officer for FHVAC, too.

“There are a lot of people who don’t realize that Forest Hills has a volunteer ambulance corps,” Cabrera said. “We can get anywhere in Forest Hills within two to three minutes.”

He added he is trying to get the community more involved with FHVAC through programs like the youth corps, which trains 14- to 17-year-olds to become EMTs.

Background: Born and raised in Queens, Cabrera was a member of the NYPD Explorers program when he was young. He moved to Maspeth when he was 18 and became a certified EMT two years later.

Favorite Memory: “I used to transport this patient, an elderly man with no family, no relatives or anything,” Cabrera recalled. “I used to visit him on holidays, bring him food on Thanksgiving and Christmas to show him that somebody cared, and we were pretty close.”

Biggest Challenge: Cabrera’s main goal is increasing the number of people FHVAC can help. That means getting the word out.

“We need more events, more open houses, more volunteers,” he said. “It’s beyond the funding aspect. It’s the fact that we want our community to be a part of us.”

Cabrera added that a lot of people who work with FHVAC are not from Forest Hills, but he would like to see more volunteers from the neighborhood.

Inspiration: Cabrera has always been driven to help people.

“There’s so much negativity in the world and there’s not much I can do about it,” he said. “But I can help out a little as an EMT. People think, ‘If an EMT is here, everything is going to be okay.’ And I like knowing that I make people feel safe.”

BY LUKE TABET

 

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Star of Queens: Ron Coen


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Star Ron Cohen 1

Star of Queens: Ron Coen

President, Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: The Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps serves the neighborhoods of Forest Hills and Rego Park. As president, Ron Coen says it’s all about increasing availability to the community. He places a particular importance on ensuring people who are new to the neighborhoods the Corps serves know about its services.

PERSONAL: Coen grew up in Fresh Meadows. He first gained an interest in emergency medical services after being in a car accident at age 12, when he was rescued by EMS workers. His day job consists of owning and operating a real estate firm called Gotham West Realty, however he says his work at the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps takes up “110 percent” of his time.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Coen counts meeting his girlfriend as his favorite memory at the Corps. On their first 9-1-1 call together, they responded to a mother who had just given birth. When they arrived at the scene, they found the mother in shock and the baby still attached to the umbilical cord, not breathing. Fortunately they were able to resuscitate the child and help the mother.

INSPIRATION: Coen regards his predecessor, Alan Wolf, as his biggest inspiration at the Corps. He praised Wolf for the way he straightened out what he felt was an organization in disarray and for what he said consisted of “rebuilding it on much sturdier ground.”

“I hope to continue the work he’s done,” Coen said.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Due to a revenue deficit over the last few years, Coen says that increasing membership and donations is one of the biggest challenges the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps faces.