The Orange County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Council has named Woodbury Community Ambulance as the “EMS Agency of the Year.”
The council also selected Anthony Maggio as the Basic Life Support (BLS) Provider of the Year.
“We are delighted that our members have been recognized for their hard work and commitment to our community,’’ Debbie Vobroucek, the president of Woodbury Ambulance, said.
WCA has been serving the community since 1953 and is one of only several Orange County EMS agencies that is staffed entirely by volunteers. The ambulance provides emergency medical care to Woodbury seven days a week, 24 hours a day. They maintain a fleet of three ambulances and two direct- response flycars. Forty Woodbury residents are currently actively riding volunteer members. These members respond with a Basic Life Support team and in extreme emergencies, paramedics will also be dispatched to provide advanced medical care. WCA is not supported by taxpayer dollars and is self-sustaining non-profit organization.
Life under COVID
During 2020, COVID presented challenges to the agency that are unique to an “all-volunteer” operation. Woodbury Ambulance officers had anticipated that many of members would shy away from riding in fear of the illness and that they might be unable to cover their calls. Since they are unpaid, their member’s riding activity has no effect on their personal livelihoods and they are not compelled to ride.
Instead the volunteers met the challenge head-on.
Throughout the year, they responded to 847 calls, which included substantial mutual aid coverage to neighboring EMS agencies. Woodbury Ambulance boasts a high retention rate and recruited 20 new members in 2020.
Anthony Maggio award nomination
Anthony Maggio joined Woodbury Community Ambulance on Aug. 7, 2000. Since then, he has completed 1,763 calls as a volunteer EMT.
He rode as an EMT with Woodbury for over 20 years and served as past president for several years. He was the Crew Chief of the Thursday day team, who were nicknamed the “lunch bunch” because between caring for patients, Anthony cooked elaborate lunches for all of his crew members. Anthony could always be found helping out at ambulance functions; always the first there to set up and often the last there to clean up and, of course, helping with everything in between.
In the beginning of January 2021, Maggio was a healthy 60-year-old with no known medical conditions. The threat of COVID during the preceding year never stopped him from volunteering as an EMT. In fact, during that year, he responded to almost 50 calls, many of which were COVID-positive patients.
In the first week of January, Anthony provided care to two COVID positive patients. Five days later he began feeling ill. He was soon diagnosed with COVID and quickly deteriorated. He passed away on Jan. 28, 2021.
“As we know, most people run from danger. But Anthony was definitely someone who, as a Police Officer and EMT, ran toward danger,” Woodbury Ambulance officials wrote in their nominating petition.
“In his 43 years of service, Anthony Maggio has held new life, saved lives, restored order, reached out to help colleagues, taught skills to new EMTs and gentled the passing for those at the end of life,” they added. “And toward the end of his life in 2020, he added ultimate bravery and selflessness to his persona. In doing so, he achieved his greatest contribution to EMS; for he has set an example to other EMT’s and EMS personnel and has taught others that EMS is not simply about providing healthcare. Rather, it is about ‘sacrifice for the good of others.’ That is clearly a sacrifice that Anthony Maggio nobly made.”