SORS repairs ambulance thanks to AK Foundation gift

Photo by Shanee Frazier
First responders of the South Orange Rescue Squad stand with members of the Aspiring Kindness Foundation in front of the recently repaired ambulance; the repairs were made possible with a donation from the foundation.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Once again local nonprofit Aspiring Kindness Foundation has demonstrated its commitment to the South Orange community in a big way — by providing a $17,000 donation to the South Orange Rescue Squad to make necessary repairs to one of the squad’s ambulances.

The donation enables the rescue squad to maintain the level of service that they provide to the community by ensuring that they have an adequate number of emergency vehicles available for use.

Aspiring Kindness has a unique connection to the South Orange community and its first responders and public safety agencies. On Jan. 19, 2000, tragedy struck Seton Hall University when one of the deadliest college fires in U.S. history injured more than 60 people and took the lives of three students: Aaron Karol, Frank Caltabilota and John Giunta.

A group of former Seton Hall students was determined to have something positive come from the tragedy, so they founded the Aspiring Kindness Foundation and named it in honor of their friend Aaron Karol, one of the victims. They established the 501(c)3 nonprofit to provide financial assistance to support and enhance the abilities of emergency responders and service providers. Previous donations have helped not only the all-volunteer SORS, but also the South Orange Fire Department and Seton Hall University.

This past weekend the South Orange Rescue Squad invited some Aspiring Kindness board members to visit the Rescue Squad headquarters on Sloan Street. On April 22, the SORS volunteers expressed their gratitude to the AK Foundation as they unveiled the newly repaired ambulance, which now bears the foundation’s logo.

“This gift came at the perfect time; Aspiring Kindness reached out asking if we needed anything and we were at that time in need of a costly engine repair for one of the ambulances,” SORS Capt. Scott Egelberg said in a recent phone interview with the News-Record. “We’re thrilled to have this partnership with Aspiring Kindness Foundation. They look out for not just us, but the entire South Orange community, and we’re grateful for the support that they provide.”

The repaired ambulance now displays the AK Foundation logo, not only to show the South Orange Rescue Squad’s thanks, but also as a physical reminder to the community that the foundation continues to provide meaningful aid to South Orange.

“The squad is grateful for the gift, because without a functioning ambulance on the road we are not able to get out there and save lives,” SORS President Troy Balog said in a recent phone interview with the News-Record. “That gift actualized our mission of keeping South Orange and the surrounding communities safe. I know that the foundation (members) also relish that they can give a tangible donation that people can see and experience. Often you give money to an organization and you don’t always get to see where the money goes and how it is used. In this case, it is very apparent how we were able to use their generous donation.”