CAMERON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Artist, John Sidelinger, announced that he will donate proceeds from the sale of his artwork to the Cameron County Ambulance Association to assist with funding.
Sidelinger expressed concern for the limited funding that the ambulance service and staff receive for their ongoing efforts to serve the community. To help this, he approached the chamber with the idea of donating all proceeds to the organization through Sept. 30 during the elk rut period.
“If I can do this and in some way contribute a little bit to make their lives and their jobs a little bit easier then that’s what it’s all about,” Sidelinger said.
The Cameron County Ambulance executive director, Tonyia Wennin expressed appreciation, noting there are numerous items used on calls that are not reimbursed by insurance companies.
“Every little bit helps. We’re so thankful for any little bit of donation,” Wennin said. “Unfortunately, we have to depend on a lot of donations and stuff like that now. Because the reimbursements just aren’t there.”
Sidelinger specializes in wildlife and paintings of commonly found zoo animals such as portraits of gorillas, tigers, lions, and other inhabitants.
In a statement to WTAJ, Carl Moen, the executive director of the Southern Alleghenies EMS Council said:
“Rural EMS agencies struggle every day to ensure that they have enough members and finances to continue to provide emergency medical services to their community. EMS agencies, especially in rural areas are often not significantly supported by the municipalities that they serve or the county they are in. They may receive relatively small donations or support, but do not receive enough to support their operations.“
The Cameron County Ambulance typically operates at an approximately $100,000 deficit per year. A number that was helped greatly last month, when the organization received a lifeline from county commissioners, by way of a $100,000 donation. Those funds can only help for so long, though, as the ambulance continues to lose between $6-8,000 each month, which is why donors like Sidelinger are such a great help.
Originals of his work can be purchased at the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce and Artisan Center, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is also open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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