November 5th, 2010
01:49 AM ET

Ambulance makes stop to allow sick 83-year-old to vote

An 83-year-old man cast his ballot from a stretcher after persuading an ambulance crew taking him home from the hospital to detour to his local polling station.

Retired doctor Charles Gorby said he has never missed an election since he returned from World War II. He was not about to miss his first one on Tuesday.

"I imposed upon the ambulance crew if they could take me about a block beyond where I live to the firehouse where we vote in my area," said Gorby of Havertown, Pennsylvania.

"I made sure they didn't have an urgent commitment that would make that request irresponsible."

Carole Lieblein, a poll watcher at the station, said the EMT was unsure of the request.

"The ambulance pulled up and the EMT came in and said he had a gentleman with him who wanted to vote," she said,chuckling as she recalled the emergency medical technician's expression of, "Can I really ask this?"

After the judge of election deemed the request appropriate, Gorby said, the main doors to the fire station opened to allow the stretcher into the building.

Other people in line moved aside, and a voting booth was selected, he said.

"My feet and legs were sticking out," Gorby said.

He was in and out in about five minutes, Lieblein said.

"We all wished we had a camera," she said. "Everybody was very impressed that this gentleman was that determined to vote."

Gorby, a World War II veteran, said he enlisted when he was 17.

"At that time, you could not vote until you were 21, and I was one of those who thought my God, you could get shot for the country but you could not vote."

If he had not made it to the polls, Gorby said it would have been the first time he has failed to vote.

"He hasn't missed an election since he's been back from World War II, he's an outstanding guy, and we'd do anything for him," said Mike Fasone of Wissinoming volunteer ambulance.

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Filed under: Elections • Pennsylvania
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. dylan

    Hope this man voted repuplican

    November 5, 2010 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      HE was using his medicare.. something the repubes WANT TO CUT duh!

      November 5, 2010 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      If he had been dead, then he would have voted democratic.

      November 5, 2010 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
    • comaseskalon

      Why is this even a partisan issue? This man simply makes me proud to be an American. We are lucky to have citizens like him–regardless of which party/candidates we affiliate ourselves with. Even if I do not always have faith in the people in government, I try to believe that overall the majority of Americans a decent and well meaning people. This gentlemen is a testament to the best in our country and I'm so glad that cnn has reported on this story.

      November 5, 2010 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |
    • elidude

      Thank you, Dave!

      November 5, 2010 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Dave-a) how do you know that he was using medicare & b) if Obamacare was in full force, he would have probably been deemed too old to justify the ambulance ride home and therefore he would have to walk...if they would have even allowed him in the hospital in the first place!

      This man is a hero! He served our nation...he (more than most people) has EARNED his right to vote!

      November 5, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      Meg Whitman, republican, did not vote for 15 years and she wanted to be governor of California.

      November 5, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. merle

    I hope what Dr. Gorby did opens some eyes. I have used the dont vote dont whine when an elected official does what you dont like. This gentleman cast a vote from a stretcher. How many of you didnt vote that could have walked into your precinct? Kudos to the EMTS. Taking him to a fire house, the engine co. would have the same basic life suport systems as a bls ambulance. This man in my eyes is a national hero. Not only for being a vet but also for having the conviction to fufill his right to vote. Sir. I salute you. Mr Obama you should do the same regardless how of who he voted for.

    November 5, 2010 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Js


      November 5, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
    • BlueHawK

      Well said, and agreed with! 😎 This fellow showed *true* patriotism, regardless of whom he voted for 😎

      November 5, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellie

      I'm sure President Obama would salute this man regardless of who he voted for. We all should.

      November 5, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Elsie

      Agreed. A true National Hero.

      November 5, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. danielle

    While i admire the gentlemen for never missing a chance to vote, i think that an ambulance should be used for emergencies only. If the gentlemen was well enough to stop and vote, he shouldnt have been in the back of an ambulance to begin with.

    November 5, 2010 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      I think the EMS unit was a transfer unit, not used for 911 calls. Staffed by EMTs, not Paramedics.

      November 5, 2010 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Tia

      If you had read you would have noticed that the ambulance was taking him HOME from the hospital. He just asked them to one one whole block out of their way so he could vote. It's not like he called up an ambulance just to take him to a polling place. Bless this man for understanding how important the right to vote - a right that he fought for in WWII - is.

      November 5, 2010 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      So, if your condition is frail enough that you require an ambulance to transport you home, you don't deserve to vote? Or you don't deserve an ambulance to return home from the hospital?
      It's interesting you object to something you have no real information on. No information on the condition of the man, not even if he is ambulatory or bedridden.
      What TYPE of ambulance is it? Transport company? EMS ambulance? BLS unit? ACLS unit?
      First, I'll tell you a few things. I live not too far from that area, the vast majority of ambulances here are BLS units with hospital owned ALS units dispatched when needed.
      The unit is a volunteer unit. Hence, it IS an EMS unit. But DO tell, should we abandon the patient in the hospital after his treatment is completed? Perhaps they can just push his litter to the curb in the cold.
      IF the EMS unit has no emergency commitments, they can transport patients home, rather than abandon them in hospital. Some units happen to have multiple ambulances and EMT's anyway AND adjacent communities overlap coverage. That particular community happens to have 6 adjacent communities with EMS overlap with them. Hence, the transport of the patient home has no real impact on the communities EMS coverage.

      November 5, 2010 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
    • St3jr

      As an EMT-I for the last 6 years and a firefighter for the last 2, I can tell you that this man was transferred in an ambulance at his physician's request. The reason some "healthy" people are transported home from the hospital in an ambulance is usually because that person may have difficulty getting into their home without proper help. So the question is was he sick/healthy? Who knows...but I can also tell you that approximately 80-90% of the calls I do are general transfers. AKA- Not emergencies. Ambulance companies make most of their money on these calls.

      November 5, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • snowbird

      The ambulance was already on the way to his home, he was going home, not having a medical emergency. This didn't cost anyone any extra money, it didn't jeopardize another person. I was an EMT, and while we never allowed someone to vote, never ran into it either....

      November 5, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • snowbird

      I also agree with st3jr.....many of our calls were transports as well.....and it absolutely is where the most money is made, at least in the small town I was in. We relied on transports. Whether it was staffed with EMT's or Paramedics is not the issue here......why is it people always have something to complain about? I'm glad the man was able to vote!

      November 5, 2010 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      REALLY???? Did you read the article where it stated they had no other obligations and were GLAD to assist this man?? Come on now...plain ignorant. You act like that was the ONLY ambulance in the town and it was being used a personal car service. Stop taking yourself too seriously. It is bad for your health.

      November 5, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • William Peterson

      Seriously? This is a Great Message story! You need a cookie and a nap. Lighten up a little will ya?

      November 5, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. aseeley

    well danielle, there r several types of amblulances & some r used for transport & some r used for emergencies. hope u never r put in a situation like this. once he got home he wouldnt have had a way back over. have some compassion in ur life. i salute u Dr. Gorby. Thank You for ur service to this country & for being a contributing citizen

    November 5, 2010 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. me

    i agree Dave!!

    November 5, 2010 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. John

    Admirable, being an ex-serviceman I understand the importance of having the right to vote.

    November 5, 2010 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. merle

    and how many in our society use our cities medic units as taxis? trust me as a retired firefighter and emt you get your regulars. the sad part is after being called time and time again you still respond as this could be real.

    November 5, 2010 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. A thankful & grateful American citizen!

    I'm honored to know we still have vets of his generation (not many left) who still care enough for this country we all call home, to vote. It absolutely doesn't matter whom he voted for, or if he's a Demo or Repub, fact is he still voted. It does't matter who you vote for, as long as you get out & vote. Sadly most of the people who talk badly about our elected officials won't take the time to vote. Please don't think I'm trying to insult Dr. Gorby in anyway, that's not my intention at all, but maybe he should request an absantee (vote by mail) ballot in the future. This way this proud & honorable man will never have worry that he might have miss his right as an American to cast a ballot. Dr. Gorby if next time you need a ride, I'd be more then honored to b there for you!

    November 5, 2010 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. lilia

    Thanks fo the lesson on civics and for your service to this great country doctor.thanks as well to ambulance crew for keeping spirit alive.

    November 5, 2010 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. autom

    His dedication is commendable, but if he voted for either Democrats or Republicans, then he is part of the problem. Only a third party has something new to offer.

    November 5, 2010 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike in WA

      The problem isn't the parties it is the people who refuse to work together. for most of the Country's history there has been two parties a few times when there were three but one usually went away fairly quickly.

      November 5, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Hexdragon

      A Third party????? If two can't get along, a third will make it better???? LMFAO...

      You are an only child, right?

      November 5, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Hollywood

    What the hell is wrong with our society today, that we've got people on here talking down about 1 of country's finest? He obviously was in no physchal state to get himself to the polling place. As much as these ambulances companies charge now a days, we're talking hundreds of dollars just to show up, & $50-$100 a mile in most places, if a paying customer is willing to pay for the extra time & milage, of course they aren't going to say no. There's too many problems in this world of real importance, for us to bash a real hero, for doing what he fought & was willing to give his life so all of us could do. VOTE!

    November 5, 2010 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hollywood

    Oh & if it wasn't for men & women like Dr. Gorby who fight & give their lives, none of you would have the right to sit there at your keyboards & bash him for doing what he fought for us to be able to do. May god bless Dr. Gorby, all the men & women of our armed forces, & may god bless America!

    November 5, 2010 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. merle

    do we not owe our vets the courtesy of asistance? ww2 korea viet nam to those that have done tours in iraq or afghanistan. these men and women have put their lives on the line for us. whether you agree or dont on the wars they fought in they were following orders. show them the respect they deserve.

    November 5, 2010 at 4:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Kana

      "do we not owe our vets the courtesy of asistance? ww2 korea viet nam to those that have done tours in iraq or afghanistan. these men and women have put their lives on the line for us."

      As a veteran I appreciate the sacrifice that those who are or have served in time of war. However we conveniently forget those that also served during times when the United States was not at war. Those veterans also deserve recognition for their service. It wasn't their fault that the U.S. wasn't at war. They still put on the uniform and took the oath to defend the country and would have stepped up to the task. It's a real shame when some veteran groups discriminate membership to their organization to those who only serving during war time.

      November 5, 2010 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. merle

    @wzrd1 checking the fd in the town it apears volly with very impressive attack units. the ems looks to be contracted? still checking.

    November 5, 2010 at 5:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Nightmare

    Compare this to what the U.S. taxpayers are going to fork over for Obam's sight seeing trip to India and east Asia, its astronomical......just sayin!

    November 5, 2010 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
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