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Posted in Preston Features
Seventeen out of twenty-five Preston Volunteer Ambulance Crew. First Row: Deb Ristau, Katie Ristau, Marti Higgs, Vicki Musel, Kristyn Tyrrell, Ryan Quanrud, Stuart Quanrud, Jeff Bennett, and Ryan Throckmorton. Second Row: Doug Keene, Kurt Reicks, Tim Kiehne, Eric Ostrom, Heath Mensink, Dave Keene, Dan Root, and Ron Schreier. Photo by Megan Kiehne
Becoming a volunteer is more work than one person would think, and I would know. My dad, Timothy Kiehne, became a certified EMT a couple years ago, and I remember all the work included. To become a certified EMT one must complete 130 hours of training plus pass a written and a practical test. My dad spent hours upon hours studying for these tests, and even questioned himself if he was able to become a volunteer. That is what I call dedicated.
This past Wednesday, June 19 was the second annual Preston Emergency Service Picnic. Ryan Throckmorton, ambulance director, had prepared a PowerPoint presentation for the ambulance crew, township board, and city board members of Preston and Fountain. Ryan explained the reason for the presentation was to recognize and thank the volunteers who have served the community.
He started by summarizing the meaning of being a volunteer on the ambulance crew by playing two videos. The first was a music video, “Hello World” by Lady Antebellum. In this song, a man drove by his daughter and wife in their mini van. Soon after he comes a crossed an accident scene to find EMT workers helping save the life of his daughter. Just as the dad thinks he is losing his daughter the EMT’s save his little girl’s life. Just like the video, the Preston Ambulance Crew shows up in the time of need for their community members to do whatever is needed to save the distressed.
Later on he played a second music video which focused on the dedication of the volunteers. Also in the presentation Ryan informed everyone on the yearly statistics. In the past year, they have taken 224 calls. In Preston, the average response time is six minutes and 38 seconds. They beat the average Southeast Minnesota response time, which is nine minutes and 23 minutes. Right now, each person of the city pays only $7 for the ambulance service. Because of our local ambulance crews, Preston saves $140 a person. This difference in the dollar amount is a 2,000 percent increase if Preston did not have the committed volunteers. Instead of locals paying more the volunteers actually gave back $442,091.52.
Next on the presentation was a overlook of new equipment which had been purchased this past year. The ambulance bought a vacuum splint, high oil pressure pump, and new tires which equaled $7,000. Recently he applied for a Minnesota grant for $20,000 to $30,000 dollars to put cardiac monitors in the ambulances.
As the presentation was coming to an end Ryan called each of the volunteer ambulance members to join him in the front. Seventeen out of 25 proud members stood there as the group praised the them with a round of applause. One of those members was Kevin Ostern, who has just completed his 13th year as a Preston Ambulance Volunteer. Kevin was presented a plaque from the department in reward for his accomplishment. Kevin stated after the presentation that the 30 years flew by and he never thought when he started that he would be a volunteer for as long as he was.
“It’s not just you volunteering, your whole family has to be on board, and OK with leaving right when that pager calls,” Kevin explained. Kevin is a perfect example of someone who sees a place in need and does all he can to make this area better. Volunteers like Kevin or my father are always needed. Let Ryan or any other ambulance member know if you have an interest in volunteering.
The night continued as everyone filled their plates with barbeque sandwiches and sat down for some enjoyable conversation. After the picnic I realized even more how helpful and kind these volunteers are for the community. Please take time to honor and thank the volunteers of Preston and all communities which have volunteer crews. These volunteers are our community members, friends, and even family. Volunteers are men and women who give up their own time to be heros for those in need.