This article is a joint effort between Spectrum News reporters Melissa Steininger and Mercedes Williams.
Volunteers of the Scho-Wright Ambulance Service are well-trained on how to deal with emergency situations. But few can be emotionally prepared for what they faced on October 6, 2018, at the Apple Barrel Country Store.
"You hear about this stuff that happens in other communities, but this one hit close to home," said Scho-Wright President Dawn Walker.
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A limousine crash took the lives of 20 people and changed the lives of countless others. Walker was one of hundreds of first responders rushing in to aid their community that day.
MEMORIAL TO BE UNVEILED, AMSTERDAM TO HONOR VICTIMS
Friends, family, and the community will honor the 20 lives lost. In a private event on Saturday at 9 a.m., a permanent memorial will be unveiled. On Sunday at 6 p.m., a public event will be held in Amsterdam to pay tribute. Spectrum News will show both events live.
One year later, it's that same community helping Scho-Wright look forward to the future, while dealing with tragedies of the past.
"It doesn’t go away. It just gets a little bit easier," Walker said. "But the town of Schoharie and town of Wright came to us with open arms."
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That devotion has always been present in the community, Walker said, but the past year created an unbreakable bond with victims’ families.
"They knew what we had been through; we knew what they had been through," Walker said.
That bond was also there between Walker’s colleagues.
"We’ve always called Scho-Wright your second family, and I think it just brought us closer together," she said.
Now she's relying on the next generation to extend their family of volunteers.
"Our average age right now ... is between 40-60, maybe even higher, maybe 65," Walker said. "So we really need the younger people to come in so we can have this for years to come."
Walker says that since the tragedy, four new high school recruits have joined the ranks of the 50-member volunteer team.