MOUNT CARMEL - The annual fund drive of the Mount Carmel Area Rescue Squad begins today.

Now in its 37th year of operation, "the rescue squad has been serving our community with dignity and pride since 1976 and has been recognized as one of the best emergency service organizations in the area," according to a press release.

Donation requests were mailed to residents of the organization's primary coverage area. Residents are asked to mail their donations to Mount Carmel Area Rescue Squad at P.O. Box 372, Mount Carmel 17851.

Rescue squad officers stress that no telephone or door-to-door solicitations will be made.

Primary revenue

"When an emergency call goes out, the rescue squad is there to give whatever assistance is needed. Once each year, the rescue squad requests the citizens of the Mount Carmel area to help them continue their vital emergency services by asking each household to contribute $20 to our annual fundraising drive," the press release states.

The annual fund drive is the primary source of revenue to pay for the rescue squad's continually increasing operating expenses.

"The cost of running your household goes up every year. The costs of keeping our rescue units operational and paying utility costs have also increased dramatically," Jason Godin, rescue squad president, said in the press release. "Each year the rescue squad asks area residents for contributions to pay for our ever-increasing operating costs and each year the community responds allowing us to continue to provide emergency services for another year. The continued operation of the rescue squad is solely dependent on residents' response to this annual appeal for donations.

"Members would like to remind residents that no direct municipal tax dollars have ever been used for the purchase of rescue squad vehicles, equipment or building construction costs.

"The rescue squad is finding it increasingly difficult to meet the spiraling costs of providing our services to the community. We rely on the support of area residents because without it we will not be able to continue operation. The members of the rescue squad ask that our citizens contribute as generously as possible to this year's drive so that we can continue to provide vital emergency services," Godin said.

"We hope that you will answer our call for help so the Mount Carmel Area Rescue Squad will be able to be there to answer a call if you ever need emergency help."