Two years ago, the West River Health Services Foundation visited with eleven area ambulance services (Hettinger, Reeder, Scranton, Bowman, New England, Mott, Regent, Buffalo, Bison, Lemmon and McIntosh) and found out they themselves weren’t receiving much appreciation during “National Emergency Services Week” in late May. In fact, quite the opposite was happening — the ambulance services themselves were serving hot dogs in the park to the public and giving elementary students assemblies and tours of the ambulance. In addition, none of these ambulance professionals really expected any recognition. “After all, we’re volunteers,” they said.
By TED UECKER
Ted Uecker from the WRHS Foundation was determined to show them the appreciation that’s been long overdue. He hit the road to all eleven towns, gathered up fifty or so sponsors from $100-$500 and came back to all eleven ambulance services with 167 “EMS care packages” for each ambulance volunteer and/or staff member. Back in 2015, each ambulance volunteer received a $20 gift certificate at their hometown restaurant; an EMS STRONG t-shirt; an EMS STRONG stainless steel coffee mug; coloring/activity books for them to distribute to the area elementary students; plus, newspaper and radio advertising in their hometown markets to try and get local citizens to express their gratitude and THANK these awesome volunteers.
Uecker said this program would be back in 2017 and this past May 21-28, a second “Ambulance Appreciation Program” was carried out for each of the 177 Ambulance Volunteers and Staff in the 11 town area. We visited with our local ambulance squad about what we should include in their care packages – we came up with the $20 gift certificates at their local restaurants (which helps the local economy and keeps our volunteers close to their ambulance if needed); an “EMS Every Call Counts” cooler backpack; a multi-use Swiss Army knife-type tool with a light; an “Our Team is Souper” soup mug and spoon; “EMT’s Help Save Lives” coloring/activity books to take into the schools; and two insertions in each area newspaper (including the Nation Center News and the Messenger, plus the Eido, the Adams County Record, the New England Herald, the Bowman Pioneer, the Bison Courier, and the Lemmon Herald). Plus we didn’t forget about the radio stations at KNDC, KPOK and KBJM. As always, the nearly fifty sponsors were super supporters, ranging from $100-$500. Needless to say, we had 177 very appreciative ambulance volunteers the week of May 21-28.
We are all fortunate to have professional ambulance services in our remote rural areas. These ambulance volunteers drop what their doing at a moment’s notice, rush to the ambulance, hustle to the accident site, do what’s necessary for the patient and deliver them to the nearest hospital. They all deserve a pat on the back, a thoughtful handshake; maybe even a high-five!
THANK YOU ambulance volunteers and staff. We sincerely appreciate all you do for our area communities. Someday it could be one of us needing your expert skills. Keep up the terrific work! We’ll see you in 2019 – ready to show our utmost respect and appreciation for all you do. Sincere THANK YOU’s to the following businesses who supported this ambulance appreciation program via financial gifts or gift certificates: City of Mott, Sunrise Foundation, West River Health Services, Smith’s Drug & Clothiers, Pioneer Bank & Trust, West River Cooperative Telephone, Slope Electric Cooperative Inc., Borderline Bar & Grill; Scranton Equity Exchange, Brenda’s Tumbleweed Café, Mott Equity Exchange, Eats N Treats, West River Health Services Foundation, Benny’s Restaurant, H & L Super Valu, Grand Electric Cooperative Inc., Fitterer Oil Inc., Northern Auto & Diesel, Next Door Pizza, Commercial Bank of Mott, West Plains Inc., Dakota Western Bank, Wheeler Manufacturing, Buffalo Hardware, Bison Bar, Broken Brick Restaurant, Gunner’s Restaurant, Dakota Community Bank, Pastime Steakhouse, Blossoms & Brew, The Feed-Lot, Eido Printing, Bowman Drug Company, Dakota Plains Federal Credit Union, No. 3 Saloon, Crane, Roseland & Melling, Lasting Visions, Dacotah Bank, The Tilted Tulip, James Cabinet & Remodeling, KNDC, Cardinal Insurance Agency, Bowman Sales & Service, Farmers Union Insurance, Southwest Healthcare Services, Kennedy’s Fresh Foods, Dakota West Credit Union, Uecker Yards Inc., AgPro Equipment, and West River Veterinary Clinic.