2018-06-06 / Columns

Lions Gate says ‘thank you’ to first responders at event

CEO/ Jewish Senior Housing and Healthcare Service

Lions Gate CEO Susan Love (third from left), thanked Voorhees police, fire, and EMS at the recent First Annual Back-the-Blue Pancake Breakfast. Joining them was Jason Ravitz (right), Voorhees deputy mayor. Lions Gate CEO Susan Love (third from left), thanked Voorhees police, fire, and EMS at the recent First Annual Back-the-Blue Pancake Breakfast. Joining them was Jason Ravitz (right), Voorhees deputy mayor. This is a story about the Circle of Gratitude. The more I live, the more I learn that when you ask for help, those who respond often take away even more from the interaction than they have invested in it.

Let’s start at the beginning. Lions Gate Senior Living is a large presence in Voorhees Twp. Our 50-acre campus is home to over 300 active seniors, employs hundreds of hardworking staff and medical professionals, and frequently invites the greater Voorhees community into its home for stimulating programs. But sometimes visitors arrive at our community because one of our residents needs help. The Voorhees Fire, EMS, and Police departments have had occasion to visit our campus from time-to-time, and we have always been very grateful for their assistance.

To recognize everything from small kindnesses to their most heroic efforts, Lions Gate set out to host a Back-The-Blue Pancake Breakfast to honor the men and women of the military, fire, police, and EMS services. The breakfast was held on Wednesday, May 23, and Lions Gate staff and residents warmly greeted the steady stream of uniformed service providers as they walked through the door. Lions Gate resident Barbara Waxman personally shook hands with each and every visitor, taking the time to give each of them a heartfelt thank you for all they do.

“I truly respect, admire, and appreciate those who work in service for others,” said Barbara. “The fire, police, and EMS personnel in Voorhees are some of the very best I’ve ever met. Not only are they extremely well trained, but also they really talk to you when they come out on a call. I am so grateful when anyone gives of themselves like that.”

“When we respond to a call, we’re not looking to race in and race out,” said George Davakos, firefighter/EMS for Voorhees Twp. “Our job is to assess the situation, solve the immediate emergency, and wherever possible educate the individual in crisis on how to best mitigate the problem if they ever find themselves in the same situation again. When you meet with your doctor, you have their attention for 10-15 minutes at best. We take as much time as needed to talk people through their emergency, and get them back on stable footing.”

“Their situation may not seem like a crisis to you or me,” said George Bundick, firefighter/ EMS for Voorhees Twp. “But it’s a crisis to them, and that means it’s our job to address that emergency with all the training, education, and professionalism we can. Every call is important, whether we’re rushing into a burning building to save people who are trapped, administering CPR to someone who has just collapsed, or rescuing ducklings that have fallen down into the sewer.”

You heard right. Ducklings. That’s part of their job, too.

“This is duck season,” said Tom Lopez, Voorhees EMT and soon-to-be certified firefighter. “It lasts about six weeks, and we’re right in the middle of it now. We keep a running total on the board to see which platoon rescues the most in a 24-hour period. I am not kidding when I tell you we easily rescue 100 ducklings a day.”

The other fire, police, and EMS staff sitting around the table all laughed, but they earnestly wanted to thank everyone for more than just their pancake and egg breakfast.

“After 9/11, people treated emergency rescue personnel very well,” said Bundick. “Then after a few years it went back to ‘normal.’ I know people are always grateful for what we do, and that’s appreciated. But at a breakfast like this, it’s nice to be able to meet with residents as well as local politicians to let them know how grateful we are for the investment Voorhees Twp. has made in us.”

“I thought I knew what police and fire gave to the community,” said Jason Ravitz, deputy mayor of Voorhees, “but after three years in local government, I now truly see what they do every hour of every day. As a township, we pledge to invest in the technology, equipment, and education that makes their job easier, more effective, and safer for everyone involved. In my opinion, the services they provide are the very best in the state of New Jersey. We not only thank them but also their families for ‘lending’ them to our community, because when they serve, their families serve.”

“If it wasn’t for the family support,” said Davakos, “we couldn’t do our jobs.”

“Ever since January 2017, when our local fire district was dissolved and we came under the oversight of Voorhees Twp., the township has been very proactive in investing in our squad,” said Bundick. “We are now a 24/7 fire department.”

On behalf of myself, the Lions Gate Board, our staff, our residents, and all their families, thank you to the Voorhees fire, police, and EMS service providers for all you do. Stop in for a meal with us anytime. We’d love to have you!

Over the next two weeks Lions Gate will be collecting donations to honor fire, police, and EMS, and will present a check to their departments shortly. It’s the least we can do for family.

Join us at Lions Gate for lunch and a tour.

Call Alex at (856) 679-2362 or go online to set up an appointment at www.lionsgateccrc.org We’d love to show you all the amenities Lions Gate has to offer! 


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