Connor Pascale, a senior at Scarsdale High School, is a recipient of the Westchester County 2013 Youth Recognition Award. He is a volunteer with the Harrison Emergency Medical Service, the Scarsdale Volunteer Fire Department and the Larchmont Fire Department. We talk to Connor about his passion.
So you volunteer with two fire departments. Tell us what got you interested in this field.
I have always been interested in a career of community service and protection. As a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout, the motto of helping others was a constant inspiration. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to help achieve my goals by volunteering as a Fire Explorer with the Scarsdale Fire Department and the Larchmont Fire Department as well as the Harrison Emergency Medical Service (EMS).
How did you go about joining these departments? Did you have to undergo any special training?
I volunteer with both the Scarsdale and Larchmont Fire Departments through the Fire Explorer program, which is sponsored by a local fire department and chartered by the Boy Scouts. I am a Jr. Captain and one of the founding members of the Scarsdale Fire Explorers. Fire Explorers undergo much of the same training as adult volunteers, and we participate routinely in drills.
To further my skills, I have also attended the Connecticut Fire Academy the past three summers, where I attended the Introduction to the Fire Service and the Advanced Skills and Concepts classes. I was selected to be part of the staff this past summer as a Junior Counselor for the Introduction to the Fire Service class of 2013 where I and other instructors trained thirty-five teenage cadets in firefighting skills.
You also volunteer with the Harrison Emergency Medical Service. How did you prepare yourself for that?
Although too young to become certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in New York State, I was given permission by the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corp. and the Chief of Harrison EMS to audit an 18-week EMT training course. I completed the course and began serving with Harrison EMS.
Were there situations during your time volunteering that solidified your interest in the field? If so, tell us about it.
When I assisted at a structure fire recently, I saw first hand how leadership, teamwork and training came together to save property and protect people. The gratitude of the patients the ambulance crew helps in real life emergencies shows me directly the benefits of helping people.
You are an Eagle Scout. What did you do for your Eagle project?
My Eagle project was to build an outdoor science trail and classrooms for the Science Department at Scarsdale High School. The trail was completed in 2012 and involved approximately 60 hours of personal time in the project planning, approval and execution. I recruited approximately 48 fellow Scouts and family members, fellow students and friends. I also received donated services of two commercial companies and the Scarsdale Highway Department to help with the project. Together, this group devoted a total of 358 hours to the project. Today, the science trail is used for outdoor classroom instruction and experiments. It is also used as a walking trail by members of the community
What are your future plans?
I intend to study Emergency Management in college and pursue a career as a firefighter and paramedic.
What advise do you have for students interested in volunteering and contributing to their communities?
Devote as many hours as you can to what you have chosen. The more time you spend in community service, the greater the benefits to others and to yourself. The greatest gratification comes from within.