Milan acquires new rescue squad

Birgit Hawkins and John Lewis, EMT, stand beside their "pride and joy" a new ambulance recently purchased by Milan Rescue 30. The group worked together and with Hawkins grantwriting were able to make the purchase possible. They are grateful to the Town of Milan, the Rising Sun Regional Foundation, and Ripley County Community Foundation for their help. At left shows the sign that is prominently displayed on the vehicle.

Wanda English Burnett

If you need quick medical assistance in the 65 square mile radius covered by Milan Rescue 30 - you’re assured of first class service.

The employees and volunteers have been working hard to make sure they can meet the needs of the Milan community. On January 9 the rescue organization went to a full time paid staff Monday through Friday. The rest of the shifts will still be covered by volunteers.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Birgit Hawkins, EMT and secretary for the board of directors told The Versailles Republican. Hawkins would like to see a paid staff on the weekends too, but they have to watch their funding.

Hawkins, who has been with the squad since 2003, has taken on another role, writing grants.

She saw the need and said she was told it was an easy process. “Not easy, but worth it,” she laughed as she thumbed through a thick stack of papers. Hawkins is originally from Germany and although she had to overcome some language barriers to write the grants, was successful with some.
Recently Hawkins’ efforts paid off as the squad was able to purchase a much needed new transport vehicle.

Two EMTs, Jon Nichols and Chris Hayes, along with two drivers from the squad, Tucker Louden and Ben Langferman, formed a committee to research buying a unit. The men spent several volunteer hours making sure the unit they purchased would fulfill their needs, and be the best buy for their money.

Rescue 30 was able to purchase a 2009 demo vehicle for $135,122.00 The diesel ambulance was purchased from Fire Service Inc. from St. John, Indiana. Hawkins said it had some “extras” such as automatic fire chains with an air kit, a power cot that will prevent injuries to staff, a 1000 watt inverter/charger and more. The unit is taller, has more storage, central air/heat, and all around is a more efficient vehicle.

With the help of an $8,000 grant from the Rising Sun Regional Foundation and $30,000 from the Town of Milan, and some savvy saving and shopping, the group was able to make the purchase free and clear. “No payments,” said Hawkins.

The Ripley County Community Foundation gave a $2500 grant that was used to purchase a much needed Stryker stair chair. This allows someone to be taken down a flight of stairs much more efficiently than the old one that was in use.

“We appreciate these grants so very much,” Hawkins said. She said her grantwriting effort is all worth it when the checks come in and they can get things they need to assist the community with emergency medical needs.

She noted that the old unit, a 1995 E-one truck that was traded in on the new vehicle, had several miles on it, and was costing the group repairs that amounted to about $4600 a month. “That was no good,” she noted. Besides never knowing if the unit would break down, it was costing them way too much money.

Rescue 30 has a staff of volunteers who cover basketball sectionals and football games for Milan schools. They also have a cadet program that allows students in high school to see if the rescue field would be a career they might consider. They give scholarships to graduating cadets who choose to go in the medical field.

Alex Hooker was 17-years old when he began with the cadet program and is now in school to become a paramedic. His parents, Richard and Gretchen Hooker, are also involved in the local rescue squad. He said the cadet program was very beneficial to him.

The top three priorities outlined in a grant application from the squad are to:

• Provide the best emergency services, patient care to the residents of the service area;

• Maintain up-to-date equipment that meets all safety standards;

• Ensure that volunteers and staff are well trained and educated to serve.

As Ripley County grows, so does the need for medical rescue services. Not only does Rescue 30 serve its designated area, they also take mutual runs to other parts of the county when needed, and even go into Dearborn County.

They strive to provide the community with dependable and safe transportation. “We thank the people who help us make this possible,” Hawkins concluded.