Animal Control Officer Ash Logs Most Rescue Squad Calls
Dick Ash, senior riding member of the Rescue Squad, has logged 3,357 calls as of last week.
As Animal Control Officer, Dick Ash can frequently be seen near the duck pond with border collie, Cloud, who's tasked with chasing away Canadian geese to avoid overpopulation. However, Ash also serves South Orange in a volunteer capacity: as senior riding member of the Rescue Squad, which he's served for four decades.
"The Rescue Squad is the greatest thing in the world," he said. "We get as much out of it as the people we take to the hospital."
Ash, 67, began working for South Orange in 1969 as a water treatment plant operator. There was a shortage of Rescue Squad drivers at the time, and he was asked if he wanted to drive. He started in 1970 and ultimately got his EMT certification. As of last week, he had logged 3,357 calls -- the most of any active member.
"When you work hard, you find people who want to work hard with you," he said, explaining the Rescue Squad's appeal to its volunteers, including a contingent of younger members that includes Seton Hall students. He's also an active member and past potentate of the Shriners, a Masonic fraternity that supports a health care system of 22 children's hospitals.
In his official capacity as Animal Control Officer, Ash has a new companion. Cloud replaced Boot, a 15-year-old border collie who developed arthritis and recently retired. She lives with Ash and still accompanies him and Cloud to the duck pond, where she observes her successor herding geese.