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ALTA Good Deeds Foundation Grant Helps NYC Group Provide Free Emergency Care


The Central Park Medical Unit (CPMU), a volunteer-based ambulance service, was named best emergency medical services unit by the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City. The unit has provided free care to patients since it was founded in 1975, and is a training ground for future EMTs, paramedics, nurses, physician assistants and doctors.

In March, the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation (AGDF) awarded a $6,000 grant to CPMU.

Castellanous“On behalf of our entire team at the Central Park Medical Unit I would like to express our deepest gratitude for your generous ALTA Good Deeds Foundation Grant,” said Rafael Castellanos, president of the Central Park Medical Unit. He also is director of New York-based TitleVest. “Your support has been instrumental in helping us fulfill our mission of providing top quality emergency medical services to our city.

In 1975, a group of regular park-goers realized that there was a specific need for emergency medical assistance within Central Park. With sponsorship from the Central Park Precinct Community Council, the group formed the Central Park Medical Rescue Squad. Castellanos was part of the original squad.

CPMU origins
Members of the Central Park Medical Rescue Squad in 1975, including Rafael Castellanos, the group's president.

The Central Park Medical Rescue Squad was primarily a first response unit that consisted of about 20 volunteers, a few personal bicycles and a retrofitted van used to transport crews and equipment. Later a stretcher was added to the van to allow for transport of patients when city EMS was not available. In 1976, the Central Park Medical Rescue Squad purchased a used type II ambulance. This allowed them to become a transporting emergency medical unit. In 1979, the rescue squad incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation and was renamed the Central Park Medical Unit.

CPMU now has four state-of-the-art custom ambulances, an all-terrain vehicle, an emergency response fly car and a fleet of emergency response bikes. The group has more than 150 volunteers whose backgrounds range from professional EMTs, paramedics, nurses and doctors to business executives, attorneys, and active and retired law enforcement personnel.

Because of partners like AGDF, Central Park Medical Unit can continuously improve and expand its services.

“Your grant has played a vital role in enhancing operational capabilities, acquiring essential medical equipment and providing extensive training opportunities for our members,” Castellanos said. “We firmly believe that your investment in our Medical Unit has contributed directly to our success and the well-being of our fellow New Yorkers.” 

Click here to donate to the AGDF.


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