It started out just like any other day for Jeff Sullivan, a volunteer Red Coat Ambassador at the Wilmington Health Care Center in Wilmington, N.C. He was at the front desk greeting Veterans when he heard the overhead page for a “Code Help” and that’s when his volunteer EMT and firefighter skills kicked in.
The Code Help was for an unconscious Veteran at the far end of the parking lot. The response team headed out on foot. Sullivan quickly summoned a golf cart used by valet parking, grabbed the Automated External Defibrillator, and loaded all 8 emergency responders onto the golf cart to get to the Veteran in need. He was very impressed with the rapid response of the care team, saying that “there were nurses everywhere.” A local ambulance arrived quickly and continued caring for the Veteran.
If you ask Sullivan he will tell you he is no hero……volunteerism is part of his DNA. He was the Chief of the Eatons Neck, N.Y. all volunteer Fire Department, where he served for over 30 years. On 9/11, his fire department was dispatched into Brooklyn to assist in emergency response and his crew routinely spent holidays away from their families while assisting their community.
After moving to Leland, N.C., Sullivan, a Vietnam-era Veteran, found himself involved with a group of Veterans who volunteered at the Wilmington Health Care Center becoming a volunteer himself in June 2022.
Sullivan is one of the 30 volunteers at Wilmington HCC. There are 177 volunteers currently serving Veterans throughout the Fayetteville NC VA Coastal Health Care System.
They serve as Red Coat Ambassadors, VAVS Committee Members, Veterans Transportation Network Drivers, Caregiver Support Peer Mentors, Musicians, Barbers, Community Living Center Recreation Therapy Assistants (Bingo, Line Dancing, etc.), Inpatient Visitors (Book Cart, etc.), Summer Youth Volunteers, and many other lower volume roles.