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Greater Pittston Ambulance Association receives federal grant

Kat Bolus, WVIA News
U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright speaks during a press conference in Pittston. City Mayor Mike Lombardo and Attorney Mike Lombardo, vice president of the Greater Pittston Ambulance Association are seated.

A member of the Biden administration was in Pittston Wednesday to announce funding is on the way for first responders and rural communities.

United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small joined U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright to award $10.5 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants.

Small and Cartwright made the announcement at the Greater Pittston Ambulance Rescue Service Association.

”This funding will help healthcare organizations recover funding that was lost during the pandemic while they continue to provide essential health care services to rural and underserved communities,” said Cartwright.

Small said she was honored to be in Pittston and proud to be partners with the association.

The ambulance association received a nearly 227-thousand dollar grant to purchase around 200 pieces of medical equipment for emergency services. The equipment includes LIFEPAK monitors, therapy cables and reusable blood pressure cuffs.

“One of the things that we like to do and we like to bring to our community is we want to give them access to the same care, the same equipment that you would have if you were living in a major metropolitan community," said Attorney Michael Lombardo, vice president of the association. "By having access to this money that the USDA has provided for us, we're able to do that."

The association is one of 18 rural health care organizations and community groups in Pennsylvania to receive the grants, funded from the American Rescue Plan Act. Pennsylvania is the second largest recipient of the USDA funds in the United States, Cartwright says.

The association serves a large area including the city of Pittston, Jenkins Township, Yatesville, Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.