BY DEREK ALLEN
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINA LAM, MORRIS MINUTE MEN EMS
While some students race out of the County College of Morris campus to eat or hang out with friends, others are racing to save lives.
“Some people do it for the experience, for their resume,” said Jonathon Yeh, CCM student and Minute Men Volunteer. “Some people do it to help people and give back to the community. Some people do it for the adrenaline you get when you answer a call, or for saving people. I do it for all these reasons.”
The Morris Minute Men have about 70 active members, covering Morris Township and Morris Plains in the event of a medical emergency. All members are unpaid.
“We’re all volunteer, and we’re supported by the people,” said Vince Marchese, Adjunct Professor of Meteorology at CCM and Minute Men member. “The town and the township both contribute significantly because it is in their best interests to have a first aid squad. We don’t charge anyone for help. We’re free and we work for free.”
Established in 1941, the EMS program has been running for 75 years out of it’s headquarters in Morris Plains. The headquarters’ walls are crowded with plaques, pictures and awards, two of which are Morris Plains Community Service Awards – which look like big golden keys to the city, and recognize the Minute Men as one of the best volunteer emergency medical organization in the U.S.
Elizabeth Nally, a Lieutenant in the Minute Men and a nursing student at CCM, said it’s hard to balance school and volunteering, but volunteering has helped in her nursing classes.
“I’ve seen some stuff, from being here,” Nally said. “I’m not grossed out if I have to dress a wound… It helps a lot, building people skills too. I feel like it helps me a lot to be more competent in school.”
Yeh said he took four classes last semester, three of which had labs, which require extra time. It was too much to work, go to class and volunteer.
“I quit my job,” Yeh said. “I think it’s worth it. If you’re here, you still have time to do homework and study if you manage your time well.”
Nally said that she likes volunteering for the Minute Men, and enjoys getting to meet a lot of different people from the community. She joined when she was 16 years old.
“It’s hard now, though, with nursing school,” Nally said. “I was on nights, but it’s too hard running calls at night and waking up to do a nursing exam. So now I’m on the day team.”
Dave Schulz, the President of the Morris Minute Men EMS, said it’s absurdly hard to balance time while volunteering.
According to Schulz, higher ranking members volunteer about 30 hours a week, while regular members volunteer about 20 hours a week.
“Lots of the time I won’t get homework done,” said Garran Armington, a Morristown High School student and volunteer. “But it usually doesn’t interfere with anything. The hardest thing, honestly, is if we have a busy night. Like a 2:30 call or something really late, I’ll be pretty tired for my first two classes. Besides that, it’s not that bad.”
Marchese said that one thing that makes the Minute Men so unique is their name.
“We went to a competition, and we were the only group with a name wasn’t just numbers and a location,” said Marchese.
Though the program started in 1941, the Minute Men get their unique name from American history.
“Morristown has always had a close affiliation with the Revolutionary War,” Schulz said. “Back in around 1775, the Minute Men were formed out of the colonial militia. They were men who volunteered to do more than the average militiaman, to be more responsive, and to be ready at a minute’s notice. The Minute Men. It’s a good parallel, because we’re people of the community who volunteer to step up and do more. We sleep here, we have bunks here, we’re here 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We’re ready at a minute’s notice.”
The Minute Men are open to volunteers of all ages, accepting everyone from teens to seniors.
“If you want to gain some experience or help out the community, we welcome anyone,” Yeh said.
For more information on the Minute Men, visit morrisminutemen.org.