“Hello. This is John from the ride service. Which hospital is your destination and what is your pickup location.”
These were the words which greeted every caller during the severe winter storm afflicting Northern Virginia from January 22-24, 2016 which dumped three feet of snow in 36 hours. The weather forced Emergency Room and other hospital staff to remain at the hospital until relief shifts could arrive, and stranded discharged patients who arrived by ambulance since no taxis or ride services were able to operate.
During the height of the storm, which during Saturday afternoon and evening delivered 35 mph winds and 1-2 inches of snow per hour, and for the following days until traditional ride services could operate on the roads, Edmond Scientific provided snow emergency ride services to hospital staff and patients. Edmond Scientific ride services supported INOVA Emergency Access in Fairfax and the Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center Complex, transporting patients home and hospital staff to and from their homes, often which were on unplowed streets. In all, the Edmond Scientific driver logged more than 500 miles averaging about 1.5 hours per trip through the storm, and provided services from 5:30 AM through 12 PM for nearly three days.
Little did any of the riders know that the driver was none other than Edmond Scientific President and CEO John Pitale, and his trusty sidekick and son Ivan (needed for help in digging the ruggedized Jeep out when it was inevitably stuck) taking a break from running the company and leaving the warmth of home and family to provide this needed service.