Waitsburg Ambulance gets matching funds for gear

The volunteer service has been raising funds for a piece of equipment used for heart monitoring.

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WAITSBURG - The state's only remaining volunteer ambulance service, the Waitsburg Ambulance Service, received a $5,000 donation from Northwest Grain Growers on Friday.

Todd Kimball, president of Northwest Grain Growers board of directors, presented the check to ambulance service officials.

The Grain Growers responded to an appeal from the Ambulance Service about two months ago, offering to donate half the $10,000 needed for purchase of a Life Pack 12 if others in the community donated the remainder of the money.

The Life Pack 12 is a piece of equipment most commonly used for heart monitoring, according to ambulance service Deputy Chief Sharon Brooks.

The equipment will replace four other pieces of equipment that are outdated and can no longer be repaired, according to Waitsburg Ambulance Chief of Operations Richard Naumann.

The Life Pack 12 is a portable 7-pound unit that can be taken directly to the patient. The machine allows emergency personnel to monitor a cardiac patient with a full 12 lead electrocardiogram; monitor blood pressure and blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

If needed, the equipment can provide full cardiac defibrillation, pacing, printable documentation of all cardiac events and telemetry to send the ECG and report directly to the hospital, Naumann said in a press release.

Taking up the challenge, volunteers approached local service clubs and individuals, and soon had the other $5,000. Donations included $1,000 each from the Lions Club, Days of Real Sport, Commercial Club and the Masonic Lodge. The last $1,000 came from Ag Link Inc, McGregor Company and individuals.

Northwest Grain Growers makes annual charitable donations, which will be announced around the first of June, but the ambulance service challenge was a special contribution, according to co-op General Manager Dave Gordon.

"It was something that was needed in Waitsburg, and we said if they could raise $5,000 in the community we would match that amount," Gordon said.

"I'm really pleased they were able to do this. Within 30 days they've been able to raise that $5,000. We're giving them the check for the balance," Gordon said Friday.

The ambulance service has been operating in Waitsburg for 41 years, according to ambulance service Recording Secretary Nancy Otterson.

The ambulance service has one full-time employee, three officers and a number of volunteer EMTs, Otterson said.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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