Daniel Gomez became Captain of the Cranford First Aid Squad during one of the organization's most trying times, the rebuilding after Hurricane Irene. Patch had a chance to talk to Gomez about his life in Cranford and the reasons why he joined the CFAS.
How long have you been a Cranford resident?
Gomez: I've been living in Cranford for four years.
What made you move here?
Gomez: The town is very special and the residents are unique. There is a great combination of nice people working together to have a great town and that is why I choose to live here.
There are lots of outdoor activities, the town fair, walkathons, nice common areas, old fashion town with not too much invasion of franchise business. Perfect combination of people.
Who encouraged you to become a Cranford First Aid Squad member?
Gomez: No one can encourage you to volunteer more than yourself. This job is about personal dedication, motivation and satisfaction. There is a certain breed of people who dedicate themselves to this job, and is in our blood by nature.
I had great instructors in the past who influenced me, but I was a paramedic 20 years ago for 4 years, and love it so much that when I had the free time I came back to my roots.
Today, I have a family and kids and believe that is so important for them to see a first-hand example of volunteer work from a parent. Lead by example so to speak.
How would you describe the feeling you get being able to serve Cranford?
Gomez: I love what I do. To be able to serve the community in their most important need, like their health, for me is amazing. I believe that a community that supports each other and works together will definitely accomplish great common goals. My children are growing up in this community, and I can say I am working as much as I can to give them a better place to live. Cranford is a great town and the people are amazing in terms of community and the school system.
How did you become an ambulance squad captain?
Gomez: Cranford First Aid Squad open its doors for me in August 2010, after I applied, and after they interviewed me couple of times. I was able to show my previous experience as a paramedic 20 years ago.
By the end of 2011, I was offered the captain position, the squad was going through a very difficult moment after Hurricane Irene hit us, and destroyed our building, so I accepted the challenge and started working hard on the reconstruction of the building and running operations in 2012. I was just re-elected captain for 2013 last month.
How have you been able to help people?
Gomez: I had so many patients who I have saved and helped through my career as a paramedic and EMT that for me there is not just one particular case.
My entire family looks to me for guidance and treatment, and I've been able to help them lots of times, especially my own kids, with broken bones, fevers, flu, etc.
I've been able to help people in need and worked so hard on people who at the end needed to go.
Who should volunteer for your CFAS?
Gomez: I strongly recommend every adult who have free time to volunteer with CFAS. We have a strong organization that helps the community in their moment of need. We need Drivers, EMTs, and administrators. The time given to the organization will have a direct impact on our community, so there are lots of good reasons to join.