This month\u2019s recipient of the Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission donation is the Southern Mercer County Joint Ambulance District.This organization first began in 1975 as the St. Henry EMS, a branch of Mercer County EMS. When a St. Henry resident suffering a heart attack had to wait 20 minutes for an ambulance from Celina, a group of volunteers decided they needed their own local ambulance service. The mission of the Southern Mercer County Joint Ambulance District is to serve the public and give them the best possible care they can.It all started in a small building on the corner of Lynn and Main Street in St. Henry, which housed two ambulances and an office area.\u201cIt wasn\u2019t very big,\u201d says John Rammel, president of the organization, \u201cbut that\u2019s where we were housed from 1975 until 2017. Then, in 2016, we started a fund drive for the new facility.\u201dThe new headquarters can accommodate more ambulances and has living quarters for onsite staff 24 hours a day, should the need arise.\u201cThe project was almost a million dollars,\u201d says Rammel, \u201cand that was all raised through fundraising. That was all donated money. We separated from the county as of January the first this year, and now we\u2019re our own entity.\u201dDonations like the one from Mercer Savings Bank go toward much-needed equipment upgrades so that the organization can better serve the community. \u201cWe just passed a tax levy in May,\u201d says Rammel, \u201cbut we won’t get any money from that until next year in April, because that’s when the tax money will come in. So we’re operating on what money we have saved.\u201dWhile cash donations are always welcome, Rammel says that what they need most right now are volunteers. Like so many organizations, they are critically understaffed. \u201cWe currently have 35 members,\u201d says Rammel. \u201cWe’re always looking for people to help out. This is still a somewhat volunteer organization, but we do now pay folks for carrying the pager and for making runs. That\u2019s just a little bit of compensation to help pay for folks giving up their free time.\u201dRammel has been with the organization for 10 years. What he enjoys most about working with the local EMS, he says, is \u201cMeeting and helping people that are in need. Somebody calls and really needs something done, and we\u2019re able to go help them. That’s really what we want to do. We want to be able to serve the community and help with whatever they need help with.\u201dSupport Southern Mercer County Joint Ambulance DistrictThe best way to support the Southern Mercer County Joint Ambulance District is to volunteer! You can find out more information about volunteer opportunities or where to make donations on their Facebook page.