Post 53 was conceived in 1969 and began offering service to the Darien community one year later. It was conceived by its founder, John E. “Bud” Doble with the help of his son Bill. Mr. Doble and other concerned parents wanted to teach their children about the devastating effects of drug and alcohol abuse. They felt there was no better way to learn about drugs and alcohol then through direct care, by teenagers, to the victims themselves.
Post 53 began operations in Bud Doble’s basement with a converted telephone truck and 40 eager high school students. By the end of 1970 the fledgling organization had responded to over 100 emergency calls on a yearly budget of $150. In 1972, Post 53 moved into the old Noroton Heights train station which would serve as headquarters for the next 16 years The 40 eager high school students would become trained and certified in Advanced First Aid to assist the citizens of Darien.
In 1975, Post 53 officially became the “first responders” for the town of Darien and provided Emergency Medical Service from 6 PM to midnight and became a back-up for Norwalk Hospital. With these increased responsibilities Post 53 received it first new ambulance in 1976 donated by Darien Sports Shop owner Stephen Zangrillo. By this time the yearly operating budget has increase to $12,000 and Post 53 personnel responded to over 250 medical emergencies. In 1985, the citizens of Darien realized the underutilized potential of Post 53 and increased its responsibilities to 24 hour coverage and it became the only ambulance service in the town. The adult advisors were now being trained in Advanced Life Support and certified by the State of Connecticut as EMT-Intermediates. In 1989 a new headquarter was constructed for Post 53 to replace the crowed train station and Post 53 volunteers responded to over 1,000 medical emergencies that year.
Today, Post 53 is recognized locally and nationally as one of the finest emergency ambulance services in the United States for its consistently high quality of pre-hospital emergency care. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush honored Post 53 as “The 822 nd Point of Light” in our country’s proud volunteer heritage. Post 53 has been recognized by the American Medical Association as one of the “top ten volunteer organizations” in the country.
Post 53 is staffed totally by volunteer students and adult advisors to provide free emergency medical services to the citizens of Darien. During various fund raising campaigns the volunteers seek financial assistance from residents and local businesses to meet the operating budget of approximately $200,000 a year.