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Democrat | Ted Waddell

A CLOSEUP LOOK of a 'defib' unit.

Sullivan Friends of the NRA donates to Sheriff's Office

By Ted Waddell
MONTICELLO — April 8, 2008 — The Friends of the National Rifle Association (NRA) want to save lives as well as protect our rights to bear arms under the United States Constitution.
On Wednesday, March 19, the Sullivan County Chapter of the Friends of NRA presented a check in the amount of $3908 to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department for the purchase of two portable defibrillators.
The life-saving units will be used by the sheriff’s road patrol, now celebrating its 40th Anniversary (1968-2008), and during the busy summer months, one of them is expected to see service aboard the sheriff’s department marine patrol boat on Swinging Bridge Lake.
“Defibrillators are head and shoulders above CPR, and in many instances our deputies are the first responders to accidents, often before any EMS first aid,” said Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff.
“They save lives, and we’re hoping eventually to have a defibrillator in every car,” he added. “Time is everything, those first few seconds and minutes are critical in bringing somebody back… these things have a good track record of restarting a heart.”
Schiff, a lifetime member of the NRA, noted that the deputies are trained in the use of the ‘defib’ units, and the state-of-the-art devices are equipped with voice-prompted programs to actually walk operators through the process during emergencies.
Presenting the check were Leo Cecil, chairman of the Mid-Hudson Friends of NRA; Michael Gagliardi, chairman of Sullivan County Friends of NRA; and Jim Hemmer, a member of the local chapter.
According to Cecil, the money to purchase the defibs was donated by the NRA Foundation through fund-raising dinners hosted by the Sullivan County Friends of NRA.
“We wanted to help the sheriff’s department update themselves to better serve the community,” said Gagliardi. “We feel that if we can save one life with a defibrillator, we’ve done good.
“The NRA’s main concern is that our Constitutional rights are respected and we have the right to keep and bear arms,” he added. “We are more than just fighting the courts for our gun laws, we’re here to help everybody. The NRA believes in the law.”
Gagliardi said one of the main reasons he joined the NRA was because he has six grandchildren.
“I have six rifles that were my grandfather’s, and I have six grandchildren,” he said. “I want his great-great grandchildren to have his guns when they grow up. Children are our future, and the NRA is for the community.”
The NRA was formed in 1871, when Civil War Union veterans General George Wingate and Col. William C. Church, dismayed at the lack of marksmanship displayed by the troops, teamed up to, in Church’s words, create an organization “to promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.”
After being granted a charter by New York State on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded with Civil War General Ambrose Burnside serving as first president.
In 1934, in the wake of repeated attacks on Second Amendment rights, the NRA created the Legislative Affairs Division, and in 1975 “recognizing the critical need for political defense of the Second Amendment” formed the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA).
The NRA established the NRA Foundation “to ensure that the financial support for firearms-related activities would be available now and for future generations,” thus continuing its tradition as a major force in defending the 2nd Amendment and a leading firearms education organization.
Friends of NRA is a grassroots program that focuses on community involvement and raises funds (100 percent of the net proceeds) for grants awarded to qualified local, state and national programs.
Grants to law enforcement agencies are given for the acquisition of several items after approval by the appropriate NRA state fund committee: portable defibrillators, purchase/training of K-9 dogs (drug detection, bomb detection, search & rescue), body armor, “Quik-Clot” (a new product for traumatic injury/bleeding), tire spikes, supplies of police firearms ranges, traffic safety vests, chemical/biohazard suits, robots, school security devices, courtroom security devices, NRA training classes, and fees and costs associated with entry or participation in NRA competitive shooting events.
The Sullivan County Friends of NRA will host its annual fund-raising dinner at the Lodge at Rock Hill on Saturday, September 20.
For more information, call Gagliardi (794-4051), Cecil (794-4580) or Hemmer (482-4966).
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