Saving Lives, Improving Huntington Station

HUNTINGTON STATION, New York, July 3

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

Mothers are often seen as nature’s superheroes. Whether working a full-time job, bringing kids to soccer practice, doing the laundry or any of the countless other motherly tasks – one thing remains a certainty: Being a mom isn’t easy.

But Andrea Golinsky – a mother of two – decided to take her duties a step further. She decided to become a real-life superhero, with the ability to save lives.

Years ago, Golinsky became a member of the Huntington Community First Aid Squad.

Huntington Community First Aid Squad spokesperson, Andrea Golinsky, has also been a member of the Huntington Station BID for the last 10 years.
Huntington Community First Aid Squad spokesperson, Andrea Golinsky, has also been a member of the Huntington Station BID for the last 10 years.

“I became interested in the squad because my husband was working and I had little children so I thought it would be important for me as a mother to know some first aid,” Golinsky, current chair of the public relations committee for the squad, said. “I took a course offered by the first aid squad, and the instructors were members of the squad, so when they took breaks they talked about [their work].”

That was 47 years ago, and ever since then she has all but devoted her life to the squad, serving as chief, first assistant chief, second assistant chief and captain at one time or another throughout her career.

“The chief is the one that oversees all of the operations of the building,” Golinsky said of her former role. “The first assistant is responsible for driving training and personnel… The second assistant chief is in charge of training and supplies.”

Those positions aid the squad — based out of Huntington Station on Railroad Street — to handle its nearly 6,000 emergency calls per year, which make it the second busiest squad in all of Suffolk County, according to Golinsky.

Made up completely of volunteers, Golinsky and the squad manage six ambulances and three first responder vehicles, all of which cover the Huntington and Huntington Manor fire districts, but are also often asked to help out neighboring districts like Halesite and Melville.

“There was one time when we had four ambulances out on the road and two of them were down, so when the fifth call came in we had people to work but no ambulance to put them in,” Golinsky said of her hectic line of work. “[However] we do take 98.9 percent of the calls we receive, which, when you’re handling almost 6,000 calls per year, all with volunteers, is still pretty good.”

While the squad undoubtedly keeps Golinsky busy, the superwoman also has another card up her sleeve: The 71-year-old from Huntington Station is also a member of the Huntington Station Business Improvement District (BID), where she has helped the organization’s board to improve her hometown in any and every way she can ever since joining 10 years ago.

“The whole idea of the BID is to improve the business district and I’ve seen a lot of good things come out of it,” Golinsky said. “It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but the flower baskets – when you come down New York Avenue and you see those beautiful baskets, it looks so nice. The garbage bins that we put out keep the sidewalks clean. And of course, one of the biggest parts of the BID a couple of years ago were the security cameras.”

But every superhero has an arch nemesis, or in the case of Golinsky, a hurdle she must manage between her duties with the first aid squad and her role in revitalizing Huntington Station.

“I’m representing the squad in talks with Renaissance Downtowns because they want to build a hotel in the parking lot [on the southwest corner of Railroad Street and New York Avenue],” Golinsky said while mentioning a 12-year-old letter from Supervisor Frank Petrone promising that any revitalization efforts in Huntington Station would not interfere with the squad’s use of said parking lot. “There’s a concern. Not only are they talking about putting up a hotel but they’re talking about putting up a medical building behind the hotel.”

Golinsky has made her and the squad’s concerns known and is working to come to a viable solution, she added.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… Golinsky!

Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander (Thursday, July 3, 2014;  B3)

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