Thursday, April 25, 2013

INSIDE LOOK: Death Project 2013 Investigation: Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Our Literary Associate, Micharne Cloughley, recently spoke with Commander Rocky Robinson who founded the Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps. This inspiring volunteer run organization saves lives every day through both their ambulance service and extensive medical training programs. You can find out more about the Bedford Stuyvesant Ambulance Corps HERE.

Check out a few excerpts from that interview below. 

Co Founder and Executive Director Rocky Robinson

No volunteers…

"A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, and there’d never been a volunteer ambulance corps in the so-call ghetto, because nobody would volunteer. So I didn’t really have anybody, believe it or not my first group of volunteer was recovered alcoholics and drug addicts, people like that, but I said you know what, that’s where the hurt is. Try to help these people. You made it and when I was really young I used to smoke pot, so I understood. So then I changed my whole focus, I went over to Bedford Avenue, and talked to some of the guys and girls there, and they said yeah we want to learn CPR, we want to learn first aid, and I said well I’m starting an ambulance corps."

No ambulance…

"I didn’t have my ambulance. So now, here’s a guy, running through a community, and he’s going to start a volunteer ambulance corps, and he don’t have an ambulance. So now you’ve got this big black guy, me, and this little Puerto Rican, his name was Joe, he was the only one that would follow me."

Daniel Bishop's documentary, Bed Stuy-Do or Die,
chronicling the incredible story of BSVAC

But real life…

"Well we were the first ghost busters. We used to put the oxygen tanks on our back, trauma kits in our hands, scanners, and we used to run, to the injury, on foot, but guess what, everybody would laugh except one person. The person that we were running to, that blood was spilling out on the gutter, and once we put on the pressure bandage, there was not a life threatening situation anymore, but if nobody knew what to do he would have bled out right there."

On saving lives…

"And I’m gonna tell you something, there’s no greater high than saving a life. When you bring somebody back from the dead! Are you kidding me? You arrive on the scene, and there’s a kid laying in the street, 5 or 6 years old, he’s not breathing, not circulating, and you get down there… you open up the airway and you breathe and you, for a couple of … And then you hear that kid say ‘I want my Mommy’, before a couple of minutes, he was dead! That is so good and I’m still a junkie but I’m a life saving junkie now."

The BSVAC team
Please donate to the Bedford Stuyvesant Ambulance Corps HERE!

Thanks Micharne and Rocky for sharing!  Check back here every Thursday for a look inside our investigation into death, dying and the afterlife in NY for a performance coming up in June. 

All photos taken from: 

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