New Ambulance Bay Honors Loyal Friend Bill Armstrong

At Armstrong Ambulance headquarters in Arlington, Mass., one office has a large glass panel that overlooks the movements of a finely tuned Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system. William “Bill” Armstrong (1924-2014) occupied that office with energy, enthusiasm and passion every day — weekends included — right up until his death. “Bill was bigger than life,” said Armstrong Ambulance CEO Rich Raymond. “He loved this business he founded, and he liked to watch over it from that office. He had an outsized commitment to patients that still endures. Every day, our work is guided by asking ourselves, ‘What would Bill do?’”

Supporting Exceptional Emergency Care

Today, daughter Gale Armstrong Brady, Chairman and President, is carrying her father’s torch forward. She is known for being devoted to the business, the patients it serves and the community. Along with her colleagues, she recently directed a generous gift from Armstrong Ambulance to support patient care at the new Joseph C. Corkery, MD, Emergency Center at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC). The ambulance bay is named in her father’s honor, with a simple plaque at the site recognizing this humble man’s dedication to exceptional emergency care.

‘Unshakeable Faith in Lahey’

Bill Armstrong was renowned for his loyalty, and this extended to his business partnerships, especially with Lahey Health. Over the years, Armstrong witnessed firsthand what it was like to be a patient at LHMC, and he developed confidence in Lahey care. Raymond explained: “Heading an organization that brought patients — often at their most vulnerable moments — into Lahey suited Bill. He had tested their services since they opened in Burlington in the 1980s. He had unshakeable faith in Lahey.”

As Meredith Lambroff, a director at Armstrong Ambulance, noted, “Bill always asked any new employee, ‘What do you need to work here?’ The answer: ‘Compassion.’ That moral mission is the fiber of our company. And Bill knew that delivering our patients to Lahey meant the same level of compassionate care would continue there with talented staff and, now, in an incredible space.”

Emergency departments are, by nature, stressful environments. When they are busy and overcrowded, it takes an extra toll on patients, families and providers. Brady said, “We were thrilled to lend our support to the LHMC Emergency Center. Whenever we pick patients up — whether at their homes or the side of the highway, we can confidently say, ‘You are going to a great hospital. You are going to get the best care.’ Our company has been proud to support Lahey since 1992.”

Giving Guided by Compassion

Armstrong will always be remembered for his giving. Whether he was sending smoke detectors to an entire village in Ireland or quietly paying hotel costs for a Belmont mother and her children after a house fire, his EMT background always drew him to respond to emergency needs. Compassion was his true north and guided him as he grew his business from one ambulance in the 1940s to a fleet of nearly 100 vehicles.  Now as vehicles pull into the William F. Armstrong Emergency Bay, the appropriately simple plaque in his honor will greet and inspire them. As Lambroff described it, “It’s a little wink from Bill.”