Corona was among the neighborhoods that even Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted was not plowed well enough. Cars, trucks and most importantly, emergency vans, were stuck in the street.
Al Perna, president of the Corona Community Ambulance Corp, said the streets by his volunteer group’s office weren’t plowed until that Tuesday.
“They didn’t come down on our block,” Perna said. “We had to shovel the streets to get vehicles down.”
One of the ambulance group’s vans was stuck when it was needed most. A seven-year-old girl had an infection that caused her neck to swell, and her airways were closing. Perna and other volunteers from the group had to call a police unit to get the girl to the hospital.
“We finally got her in a car, rushed her to the hospital,” he said.
Leading the ambulance corps is just one of the many hats Perna wears for the community. He’s also the first vice chair of Community Board 4 and chairs the Parks Committee. Perna has a charity, the Perna Foundation for Kids, and holds events to benefit children in the community.
“I’ve been in this community since 1961, I was born and raised here,” he said. “I haven’t left. I love it.”
Perna especially loves his volunteer ambulance group, which he joined two years ago. He said he’s working now to get some of the volunteers paid.
“They have to volunteer certain hours, then after that, they’re going to get paid,” he said.
“I love community-based volunteers that love their community and want to help the community,” he added.