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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Port St. Lucie Volunteer Ambulance Service is in critical need of help to continue operating.
The service, which has been running for nearly 40 years in the city, runs completely on donations. It is one of only two volunteer ambulance services left in the state.
Chief Jeff Ross says his organization helps anywhere from 300 to 500 people a year. Now, the volunteers are asking for a little help in return.
Volunteer EMTs give disabled individuals and senior citizens free ambulance rides to doctor's appointments, surgeries and check ups.
"There is an obvious need for this. I'd hate to see it go somewhere, there's a lot of people that rely on this," Ross said.
The ambulance service, for decades, stored ambulances and other equipment in extra space at a local hospital for free.
A couple years ago, the hospital ended up needing the extra space for its own storage needs.
City leaders helped the volunteer ambulance service obtain new storage space along Village Green Dr. in Port St. Lucie.
"We thought we were coming in here long term, if not permanently. And apparently, I guess it was not [permanent]," Ross said.
"We need a new home," Ross said.
Now, they're looking for a new home, or more donations to afford paying rent where they are currently.
"There's not enough money to pay for rent, lease, or a mortgage. It's awful that we have to, how do I put this, beg for help."
Michael Ponton relies on the service. "I was using them probably twice a month," he said.
Without them, the financial burden would be heavy. "I would have to try to find a company that would charge me to drive me back and forth."
He's been paralyzed for nearly 30 years. The Port St. Lucie Volunteer Ambulance takes away some of the stress of getting to his doctor's appointments.
"Something just happens inside when they find out it's free. There's just this incredible feeling," Ross said.
The organization also loans out wheel chairs, crutches and other medical equipment devices for free.
Ross says their services are essential for many residents.
"I have no idea what they're going to do, I really don't know," Ross said. "We're expecting a Christmas miracle."
Donations can be mailed directly to their bank.
9698 S US Hwy 1
Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952
Scripps Only Content 2016