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Norvelt EMS retools leadership

| Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, 12:26 a.m.

The new, volunteer leaders of Norvelt EMS/Land Transport wish to offer more to those they aim to serve by promising more to those they wish to teach.

Such was the impetus for the service's board of directors to recently vote to replace a number of officers with new blood with a tested pedigree in emergency response.

“We did change our officers,” said Josh Janos, the service's new chief who formerly served as assistant chief to former Chief Mike Noble Sr. since 2006.

“We never got a subscription drive out last year. This was a rough year this past year; we're taking a new route.”

Janos -- a professionally licensed emergency medical technician who is employed full-time in the field -- has served as a volunteer with Norvelt EMS for the past decade.

In addition, fellow licensed EMT Joshua Hudec -- who also works full-time in that role -- was voted to fill the assistant chief role vacated by Janos.

The service's new treasurer Jason Wiltrout, a five-year member and another certified, full-time EMT, replaces Debbie Noble, who served in that role since 2002.

John Fernandez takes over as secretary for Melissa Noble who served as such since 2010.

While Janos said those who were replaced performed adequately over time, the service established in 1988 was in need of a shot in the arm, so to speak.

“Were not saying they did a bad job, but didn't really have any (public relations),” Janos said. “We plan on doing more for the community than we've done.”

To make sure they can, Norvelt EMS officials will conduct a subscription drive starting the first week of October.

“That is one of our biggest fundraisers,” Janos said. “With that, we buy new equipment and put money into our facility.”

And into better training volunteer staff, Janos said, particularly those ages 17 to 21.

“We're looking to make a professional ambulance service out of a volunteer staff -- and we want to stay volunteer,” he said.

As one of only two volunteer EMS services remaining in Westmoreland County -- the other being nearby Kecksburg Rescue and EMS -- maintaining a non-paid staff is getting harder to do.

“It's hard to stay volunteer, so we're looking more into training to get the guys we have where I am, where Josh Hudec is and where Jason Wiltrout is, because we're all certified (EMTs),” Janos said. “We're looking to make sure our volunteers can offer top-notch care to community.”

Wiltrout added that he would like to see the service's staff grow.

“It's our full-time job. It's what we know how to do, and we're dedicated to helping others here. And we're looking for new volunteers,” Wiltrout said. “We're always looking for new EMTs to join down here to better help us do a lot more crews.”

Those receiving mail regarding the subscription drive need only complete the included paperwork and provide a requested payment.

In return, the benefits provided to subscribers could possibly save a life, Janos said.

“If a subscriber's insurance doesn't pay 100 percent of an ambulance transport bill, we pick up the rest,” Janos said. “We ususally have done pretty will with these drives in the past so we're hoping that will be the case again.”

A.J. Panian is a staff editor with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or