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Duty Calls

photo courtesy of the first responders

Boston MedFlight is one of the rare air medical transport companies in the nation that is nonprofit. CEO Maura Hughes says she spends much of her time fundraising. “People ask me all the time why we’re asking for money,” says Hughes. “Boston MedFlight is a nonprofit organization and cares for patients regardless of their insurance or financial status. We provide over $4 million a year in free and unreimbursed care and rely on charitable contributions to support our mission. It’s been our mission to help, whether a patient can pay the bill or not.”

Every member of the Boston MedFlight team will tell you they are one part of the bigger puzzle when it comes to how rescuers respond to someone’s time of need. It’s usually the team on the ground that calls for the helicopter. It’s a first responder comradery that’s hard to match, says Dennis Fire Chief Mark Dellner. Dellner came out of the Army in 1975, and at the age of 19, he says he never expected to be a firefighter, let alone become a fire chief one day. “I remember a friend of mine joking with me that animals, mice, bugs and people try to get out of buildings on fire and firefighters run into them. That was enough of a challenge for a 19-year-old kid,” Dellner says. Now, 44 years later, Dellner is every bit as passionate and hungry to help other people. “I just try to make sure our people do the job safer, with better knowledge and technology with the dangers of today’s environment,” he says. In 2018, the Dennis Fire Department answered more than 5,400 calls, an increase from 2017. Dellner says they’re busy all year long, not just when they see the sudden influx of visitors in the summer months. The men and women in his department cover a population of about 14,000 people, which swells to about 65,000 in the summer months. Through the growth and change of Cape Cod, Chief Dellner says he’s still as passionate as he was on day one. “The calls I find the most rewarding are when our firefighters come out of a burning fire and make a great stop on a structure fire,” says Dellner. “While structure fires are on the decrease nationwide, including Cape Cod, fires in today’s buildings burn with a greater intensity and with higher temperatures. These fires are even more dangerous and unpredictable.”

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