EMS pioneers honored at ceremonial contract signing

Joe and Jean Oddo stand with their former employees in front of the new AMR ambulance 525 which was painted to reflect the old Town's Ambulance brand. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Joe and Jean Oddo stand with their former employees in front of the new AMR ambulance 525 which was painted to reflect the old Town's Ambulance brand. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – Two pioneers of the local emergency medical service were honored Tuesday at a ceremonial contract signing between American Medical Response and the Town of Cheektowaga.

When Joe and Jean Oddo purchased Town’s Ambulance in 1977, very few people thought the husband and wife team could grow the struggling medical service into the regional powerhouse it was when it was sold to Rural/Metro Medical Services in 1996.

“During a time in which most of the country scoffed at paramedic service and ran away from such a radical notion, the Oddos boldly ran to the roar and took an incredible risk to ensure that our community would receive the best possible emergency medical services,” said AMR Western New York Regional Director Thomas Maxian.

The Oddo’s grew Town’s Ambulance into a fleet of 15 vehicles in just seven years.  While their competition would just transport a patient to the hospital; the Oddo’s mission was to bring the emergency room to the patient.  Their company was the first to bring Advance Life Support service to Cheektowaga according to a 1984 article in the Tonawanda News.

The current owners of the Town’s Ambulance brand, AMR, resurrected the brand to pay homage to the Oddo family.  The company had the Oddo’s christen the new ambulance Tuesday afternoon outside Town Hall.

“In your honor, we have revived our Town’s Ambulance brand and we present you with Town’s 525. 525 will forever bear the Town’s brand, with its trademark green stripes, and will proudly serve the community in which that brand was born,” said Mr. Maxian.

“It’s one the proudest moments of our life to see the rebirth of this ambulance and the service,” said Mr. Oddo.  “It’s a great honor for us because the people who worked for us were probably the greatest people in EMS you could ever find.  They were very patient oriented and took care of everything we, Jean and I, wanted to have done.”

AMR Regional Director Thomas Maxian and Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski ceremoniously sign the new ambulance service contract with the town on April 24th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
AMR Regional Director Thomas Maxian and Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski ceremoniously sign the new ambulance service contract with the town on April 24th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

Mr. Maxian and Supervisor Diane Benczkowski also took part in a ceremonial signing of the new ambulance service contract with the town.

“This contract renewal was the best of any in which we’d have taken part and that’s because of the commitment and success orientated attitude of everybody who was apart of it,” said Mr. Maxian.

The contract allows AMR to be the exclusive ambulance provider for the town and runs from January 1, 2018, until December 31, 2020, with a one-year extension option.