"No signs of slowing down after 30 years as a Mendham EMT" - Dailyrecord.com
Fri. Jan 28th 2011
As Quoted from the Daily Record Newspaper by Daily Record staff writer Vanessa Vera Roman.
"When most of Paula Oswald's peers were concerned with getting a learner's permit to drive, the then-16-year-old was more focused on her application to join the Mendham Township First Aid Squad.
Coming from a family of first-responders, and growing up right across the street from the Ralston Engine Company and First Aid Squad, Oswald said it was important for her to join the squad as soon as she could.
"It just seemed a natural step to be able to move into membership and be able to serve the community," said Oswald, now 46.
Through the years, Oswald, who now lives in Morris Township, moved through the ranks in the Mendham Township squad, serving as captain and then president — even staying involved in the squad through her years as a student at The College of St. Elizabeth in Florham Park.
Then, 15 years ago, as a certified CPR instructor, Oswald began teaching both borough and township first aid squads and became a "special member" of the Mendham Borough First Aid Squad.
This year, Oswald was named captain of the Mendham Borough First Aid Squad and also continues in her 30th year of service with the Mendham Township squad.
Oswald works fulltime for the state Department of Children and Families, inspecting child care centers. After that, she is on call to respond to emergency calls.
In addition to being an emergency medical technician, Oswald is a certified CPR instructor with the American Red Cross and is part of the Apollo Team, a team of emergency responders and some clergy who provide emotional and psychological support for other emergency responders during crisises.
Oswald's 30 years of service have gone by quickly, she said.
"I think it becomes part of you," she said. "It is really our second job; we're just volunteers."
Oswald's mother, Peggy Oswald, of Mendham Township, was a past captain who served on the township squad for about 20 years. Peggy Oswald and her husband Hank Oswald, who also served on the squad about 15 years, are now considered life members of the squad, though they have retired.
Peggy Oswald remembers that at one point, three of her five children, including Paula, were involved in the squad at the same time.
"It's very satisfying to help your fellow community people," she said. "If you belong to a community, you should be part of volunteer groups."
Even though he's no longer an active member of the squad, Hank Oswald still feel he's part of it.
"You never really give it up," he said.
These days, Paula Oswald said she sees herself as more of a mentor, and she wants to build the squads with new and younger people.
"We need other people if we're going to keep our volunteer status alive right now in the Mendhams," Paula Oswald said. "I want to be part of that responsibility, of trying to figure out ways to keep a volunteer-based system for my town."
Thank you Paula for your outstanding service to the Mendham Township First Aid Squad
Paula Oswald was named Captain of the Mendham Boro First Aid Squad. (front) This is Paula with her parents Peggy and Hank Oswald, who have served on the Ralston First Aid Squad. (dawn benko photo/2010 - dailyrecord)