Vocational students help get broken Hanover ambulance back in service

Vocational students help get broken Hanover ambulance back in service

HANOVER, Mass. — One of Hanover Fire Department’s ambulances is back in service thanks to a group of talented and hard-working vocational students.

The ambulance had to be taken out of service Sunday night because the back bumper was rotted.

With another ambulance out for repairs, the department was left with only one ambulance to service the town of about 14,000 people. When multiple calls came in, the town had to rely on mutual aid from neighboring departments.

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“We knew we needed to get this ambulance turned around quickly, get it repaired, so we could get it back in service,” Hanover Fire Chief Jeffrey Blanchard told Boston 25 News.

Knowing it could take days to get the ambulance back in service if he brought it to a repair shop, Blanchard called up the South Shore Technical High School. The school – which enrolls students from Abington, Cohasset, Hanover, Hanson, Norwell, Rockland, Scituate and Whitman – is located in town.

The students in the Metal Fabrication and Welding program were happy to help.

“We had to cut off the back bumper,” Peter Shaughnessy, a junior, explained. “It was rotted. We welded it, painted it and put it back on.”

“If they took that somewhere else, it would have been a couple hundred bucks just to make them a new bumper and probably a couple of days,” Mike Hagan, a junior, added. “We banged it out in two days for free.”

Their instructor, Bob Mello, said he’s grateful the fire department entrusted his students with the job.

“That was an awesome job that those kids got to do because it was an application of what they learned in the classroom and now transferred out to a real life situation,” Mello said.

According to the fire department, the students did a ‘top-notch’ job.

“They do excellent work and I think they enjoy the project as well,” Blanchard said.

The work also highlights the importance of the trades and the value of a vocational school education.

“You get to learn a lot,” Hagan said. “You get to take it in the real world and get a job. You don't get stuff like this in regular high schools.”

“We have people knocking on our doors constantly looking for kids with talent and skill,” Mello added.

Blanchard said students from other trades at the school have helped out with different projects around the fire house. Currently, fire chiefs from the towns the school serves are working on a program to introduce students to the fire service.

The school’s superintendent, Tom Hickey, sent Boston 25 News the following statement:

"We were very happy to assist to our Hanover first responders with this project.
South Shore Tech students learn best when they apply their technical and communication skills in the 'real world'.  Several students had to diagnose the problem with the bumper, propose a solution and then perform the technical tasks necessary to make it happen.  Students were involved with the layout, fabrication welding and painting of the new bumper.  They needed to communicate with one another and get the job done in a timely fashion.
Our students excel in the areas of problem solving, teamwork and communication.  I'm very confident of their future success in the workforce."