Kellner family gift could save lives


SALISBURY - The Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service has a simple but effective fundraising hook: Make a gift and save a life.

Nowhere is that simple truth better illustrated than in the ambulance service's recent gift of $20,000 from Helen Kellner. The money will be used to purchase 10 automated external defibrillators that will be used by emergency medical technicians at the ambulance service and around town at various organizations.

"It's a commitment to the town and a tradition in my family of giving back, said Helen Kellner's daughter, Jane. "The volunteer ambulance service is a vital part of the community."

One of the defibrillators (or AEDs) will go on each of the ambulance service's four vehicles. Others will be distributed at various spots in town where large numbers of people come and go, including: Salisbury Central School; Town Hall; Salisbury Bank & Trust; and the Town Grove.

An AED is a portable electronic device that diagnoses and treats life-threatening heart conditions, including arrhythmias and cardiac arrest, with electrical therapy, or shocks. They can help responders performing CPR and are designed to be easy for the layman to use. The Salisbury units were late in coming.

"They took almost a year to get here because of the high demand," said Jacquie Rice, president of the Salisbury ambulance squad. In the last two to three years, AEDs have been in demand for many reasons, including hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as the war in Iraq.

Jane Kellner said her mother, now 94, and her late father, Kelly, have both needed the services of the ambulance squad and feel a close connection with its volunteers. Rice said her organization is grateful for the Kellners' gift.


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