Upper Greenwood Lake Volunteer Ambulance Corps
Address: 814 Warwick Tnpk. Hewitt NJ, 07421
P.O. Box: 1087 Hewitt NJ, 07421

Our History as Upper Greenwood Lake Volunteer ambulance Corps

Sometime in the spring of 1955, a local tragedy occurred. There was a drowning in Lake Lookover that created a need for community service.  That community service was the start of the Upper Greenwood Lake Volunteer Ambulance Corps. With the assistance of a weekend resident named Walter LaFrance, a member of the Dumont First Aid Squad, lawyers were hired and a charter and by-laws modeled after the Dumont squad were filed.  

On June 2, 1955, the Upper Greenwood Lake Volunteer Ambulance Corps officially began. By the 9th of June 1955, thanks to a loan from Peter Fries, the Corps was able to register its first ambulance, a 1947 Cadillac.

The first ambulance, nostalgically nicknamed “Ole 39” because of its Police Call Letter '139", had many different homes in its early years.  "Ole 39" saw tenancy in many different firehouses and in Joe Senft’s garage which was under the Appalachian. When these locations started to inconvenience the owners a woman named Rita Dauchman allowed the Corps to park its ambulance in her father’s garage on the corner of Banker and Barnegat Roads. After purchasing “Ole 39” the corps saw a need for a backup ambulance in case of emergency. The corps decided to purchase a 1954 Cadillac loving nicknamed “39A”. These call signs would eventually be changed to Rig 54 and 55.

The search for a permanent home was perpetually on the Corps agenda.  Thoughts of renovating the Upper Greenwood Lake Clubhouse were considered.  Property on the Clinton Road triangle was offered by Joe Deaver. Mount Laurel offered property next to Murphy's on Warwick Turnpike and property on Hanover Road was donated.  None of these properties were suitable or feasible. Then on November 29, 1958, the Corps purchased its present site from the Piasiols.

To start construction, a Sunday morning brush cutting party was held to clear the land. Braen Industries assisted after the brush was removed with clearing boulders from the site.  The permanent headquarters building was officially dedicated in September of 1959.

In 1961, due to a decrease in membership, the corps voted to allow junior members to ride. The minimum age for joining was now 16 years old. At this same time, a formal auxiliary was established to assist the crews, mainly consisting of member’s wives. 

Soon though, the women of the auxiliary became interested in more than just fundraising for the squad. In January of 1972, the by-laws were changed to admit female members.  Beverly Ollearo became the Corps’ first female member. Without the women, 24 hours a day 7 days a week service would have been impossible. In January of 1980, the Corps would seat its first female President, Mary Ann Dougherty. Since then women have held many leadership roles in the Corps.

Up until a few years ago, a phone chain performed the chore of turning out an ambulance crew. That voice in the middle of the night could have been any member of the Hajek, Andersons, Shannon, Remia, Schmidt or Browne family.  Presently the Corps is dispatched through the radio system of the West Milford Police Department. 


Since the Corps' inception on June 20, 1955, there have been many changes, all of which were for the betterment of the service rendered to the Upper Greenwood Lake community. Technology has advanced and our EMT’s now have access to advanced life-saving equipment. We now have newer and better-equipped ambulances.  But the mission remains unchanged of stabilizing and getting our patients to a hospital in safety. 

The Corps members are in constant training with continuing education for all members as well as practical hands-on drills to hone our skills. All this is done to ensure that we give our community the best possible service. 

Just like in 1955 it took dedication and love for one's community to join the Corps, the same holds true to this day.  The Corps is constantly looking for dedicated men and women to help provide the Upper Greenwood Lake community with the best possible prehospital care available.  Your reward for service, as it was many years ago, is the satisfaction in knowing that you have helped to make our community a better place in which to live. 

Society has changed greatly since the formation of the Corps, and time has become an even more precious commodity. Its commonplace for both partners to work and the time to volunteer is a luxury that many don’t have. The Corps, too, has had to adapt in order to retain its membership and recruitment remains a challenge. We thank all those who have volunteered since the beginning of corps and all those who continue to serve today. 

Though we have only named a few, the Corps has had hundreds of different members in its history. I wish we could name each one for their contributions.