It took knowledge and problem-solving skills to be a good computer and network technician, and for many years Galloway Township's Scott Risley liked the work. But when he became a volunteer Emergency Medical Service technician in 2005, he found his true calling.

"Even the simplest EMS call requires a level of thought and mental challenge. That is a driving force for many of our members," said Risley, a corporal with the 60-member Great Bay Regional Volunteer EMS in Little Egg Harbor Township.

The squad provides 911 emergency response for Little Egg, Bass River Township and Eagleswood Township, and responds to about 2,800 calls per year.

Risley, 40, now works full-time in EMS for a medical transport company, and volunteers two shifts per week.

It was during his volunteer service that he helped save a man who had a heart attack, with CPR and an AED (automated external defibrillator) to shock his heart, until paramedics arrived.

"When the wife of the person I saved said 'thank you,' I didn't care how much I was getting paid or not getting paid," Risley said. "The satisfaction I got was so much more meaningful than a paycheck."

Sunday marked the start of National EMS Week, a time to honor those trained to save lives. On Sunday night, the Great Bay squad honored its volunteers, those of surrounding squads, and some who helped during Hurricane Sandy from as far away as Indiana. They also honored local police and fire departments.

"I was in the squad building for four days around the hurricane," Risley said. "We needed help in covering all the calls. It was wonderful having all hands on deck."

Local woman a 'face of CASA'

Somers Point resident Linda Wright has been honored as part of the national "35 Faces of CASA for Children," in recognition of the 35th national anniversary of Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Trained CASA volunteers act as advocates for children in the foster care system. Wright was recognized for helping a little girl return to her mother's care, after the mother successfully completed a drug treatment program and worked with Wright on reuniting with her daughter. For more information, visit

Cape Tech's award-winners

Cape May Technical High School students recently won several awards at the 2013 NJ SkillsUSA Championship in Somerset County, where 1,600 students competed in more than 90 contests.

Students getting first-place awards were Austin DiCola and Patrick Haigh for Audio/Radio Production; and Farah Almadani, Joslyn Nelson and Chris Russ for Law & Public Safety. Nancy Fissel is the advisor.