Gift ambulance to leave campus Monday morning

by Gail Hinchion Mancini

p. p. A new ambulance will leave Monday (Dec. 17) from the University of Notre Dame to a hospital in New York City, fulfilling a locally based philanthropic dream to make a contribution following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
p. The ambulance project is the brainchild of South Bend resident Anna Reilly, who raised the majority of the funds for the ambulance from the University, Memorial Hospital and the ARC Philanthropic Fund of the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County. The ambulance was manufactured by Marque, Inc. of Goshen, which is providing the vehicle at cost.
p. The ambulance is headed for Cabrini Medical Center, a Catholic community and teaching hospital located about two miles from Ground Zero. One of Cabrini’s emergency medical technicians was killed in the collapse of the towers, and two of its six ambulances were severely damaged.
p. The ambulance will depart at 10 a.m. Monday from the main circle on campus. It will be driven to Manhattan by Tom Emmons, a neighbor of Reilly’s. As cargo, Emmons will be carrying cards and well wishes signed by local school children, guests of the Center for the Homeless and employees of the South Bend and St. Joseph County governments.
p. Reilly said the plan grew from a need to contribute, but also from the awareness that the nation already had responded overwhelmingly with cash donations. The idea of donating an ambulance grew from her acquaintance with Marque Chief Executive Officer Scott Jessup, who holds two Notre Dame degrees, and the idea of sending a locally manufactured item appealed to her sense of community. Jessup used professional contacts to identify a hospital that would benefit from the donation.
p. “Cabrini was a perfect fit,” said Reilly. In addition to being Catholic and dedicated to the well-being of the neighborhood’s elderly and low-income, it is self-insured and had no means of fiscally recovering the loss of its equipment.
p. “This really has been a community effort,” she said. Emmons and project supporters took the vehicle to stores and restaurants, inviting people to donate, but also to sign the cards for the Cabrini staff. At Notre Dame, the Office of Student Affairs, Campus Ministry and Student Government.
p. The vehicle is scheduled to arrive in New York mid-afternoon Wednesday (Dec. 19). The staff awaits the arrival with excitement, said Cabrini Chief Financial Officer Joanette Matijevich. “This is just an astounding thing,” she said.

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