This month’s 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.
“It wasn’t very big,” says John Rammel, president of the organization, “but that’s where we were housed from 1975 until 2017. Then, in 2016, we started a fund drive for the new facility.”
The new headquarters can accommodate more ambulances and has living quarters for onsite staff 24 hours a day, should the need arise.
“The project was almost a million dollars,” says Rammel, “and 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’re our own entity.”
Donations like the one from Mercer Savings Bank go toward much-needed equipment upgrades so that the organization can better serve the community. “We just passed a tax levy in May,” says Rammel, “but 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.”
While cash donations are always welcome, Rammel says that what they need most right now are volunteers. Like so many organizations, they are critically understaffed. “We currently have 35 members,” says Rammel. “We’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’s just a little bit of compensation to help pay for folks giving up their free time.”
Rammel has been with the organization for 10 years. What he enjoys most about working with the local EMS, he says, is “Meeting and helping people that are in need. Somebody calls and really needs something done, and we’re 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.”
Support Southern Mercer County Joint Ambulance District
The 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.