By CLOEY CALLAHAN
The Town of Newburgh Emergency Services has continuously stepped up to serve its community during the pandemic. More recently, two members – Crystal DePew and Jonathan Fessock – were promoted within the agency.
DePew was promoted to captain, after being with Town of Newburgh Emergency Services for over five years. She started off as an observer and then became an EMT.
“Other people there saw potential in me, so they invited me to become a CPR instructor,” said DePew. “I started also teaching CPR classes as well as first aid. Then they offered me to become an officer, and I started off as a second lieutenant two years ago.”
After a year of being a second lieutenant, she became the assistant captain, which she held for close to a year. Now she is not only the captain but the membership coordinator, meaning she reviews applications and interviews those who are interested in joining Town of Newburgh Emergency Services.
“I’m involved with a lot with the agency and it keeps me busy but it’s rewarding and I love doing it,” said DePew.
She said as a captain she will be a resource for each member and help them along the way.
“It’s about making the agency better as a whole, rather than about me being in the captain’s position,” said DePew. “I’m there for whatever they need me for.”
Right now the Town of Newburgh Emergency Services has over 70 members, with new members on the horizon after their applications are processed.
“It’s going to be a lot of work and a big process but we are definitely eager to bring in new members,” said DePew.
In addition to DePew, Fessock was also recently promoted. He transitioned from second lieutenant to assistant captain. He has been a part of the Town of Newburgh Emergency Services since the spring of 2019. He is originally from New Jersey, where he works at another EMS agency as well, but is in the area as a student at Mount Saint Mary College studying psychology with a criminology minor.
“It was my sophomore year of college where I applied to the Town of Newburgh Emergency Medical Services,” said Fessock. “I had been working in emergency medical services since 2016 in New Jersey.”
Because of his other involvement, he was able to quickly progress here in the Town of Newburgh. Fessock became a second lieutenant by the fall of 2020.
“It was the first time being in an officer type position,” said Fessock. “I learned a good deal of how things ran in the background, aside from normal day to day activities like responding to calls. I got to see the more operational and logistical side of running an EMS agency – ensuring people are doing the right things, tours are being done and patient care experiences are up to par.”
Now, being one step higher as assistant captain, he said although he feels more responsibility, he is excited to learn from those above him while showing newer members the way.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of things have had to be put on hold, like the new member application process. They’ve also had to put on hold their observer program, which allows members to join on a ride, twice during the pandemic. The Town of Newburgh Emergency Services has also experienced an increase in call volume.
“Sometimes people are worried to go to the hospital because of COVID,” said DePew. “That’s been a struggle for us trying to help ease the patient’s mind.”
“It’s made a significant impact on how we do things when it comes to responding to calls,” said Fessock. “We have to make sure everything is cleaned, the personal protective equipment is restocked and accounted for – even just how we go about our day in the station and how we interact.”
Town of Newburgh Emergency Services have had access and been offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite the changes, DePew described the agency as resilient and the members as doing a phenomenal job.