During the Christmas and New Year holidays, I found myself doing what I imagine many of my neighbors were doing—spending a weekday at home with my kids and looking for ways to get them outside doing something active in the freezing weather. Having cleaned out a bathroom medicine cabinet earlier in the day, I also found myself with a couple of containers of unused medication that needed to go. Eureka, the basis for an outing (albeit unconventional) with my kids! We bundled up, grabbed their scooters, filled a water bottle and headed off from our home in Sunset Hills to the Medical Rescue Team South Authority (MRTSA) building in Mt. Lebanon, just off of Castle Shannon Boulevard, on Cypress Way, where we’d read that there is a medicine drop box.
It was a typical cold and cloudy Pittsburgh winter afternoon, made even more breezy for my kids as they whizzed along on their scooters. We saw soft lights inside cozy houses and telltale smoke rising out of warm chimneys. A cold but picturesque neighborhood of familiar homes.
We arrived at MRTSA around 3:45 and found the easy-to-locate medicine drop box in the front lobby. After making our drop, we sat on the bench out front sharing sips from our water bottle, planning our route home, and attempting to warm up.
Just as we were re-gloving to start our trek back, the internal building doors opened and we were greeted by John, who asked if we’d like to step inside to warm up and have a walk through the facility. Needless to say, I now looked like the best outing planner my kids had ever seen!
We spent the next 30 minutes getting a personal tour which covered the MRTSA command center (with live radio and large screens), the ins and outs of their newest ambulance (my 5-year-old just had to test the seat belt and clever magnetic storage bins that ensure everything stays put), and the housing areas (MRTSA team members use these when they are between calls to eat, train, and exercise). They offered us cookies, hot chocolate, badges and the warmth of everyone working there during the holidays. Our journey home was darker due to Pittsburgh’s short winter days, but we had endless stories to tell and happy memories to recall.
One of the things we really like about Mt. Lebanon is the welcoming, neighborly feel of our housing plans and the walking community mentality. It’s clear that this neighborliness is also shared by the businesses that call Mt. Lebanon home. This outing reminded me of how privileged we are to have the MRTSA organization so near and to know that it’s staffed each night, each weekend and holiday with capable team members, should an emergency occur. And this outing also reminded me that the kindness of neighbors can easily warm a winter afternoon chill.