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Ambulance fundraising drive sees progress, changes
November 29, 2019

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Fundraising efforts continue for Rugby's Good Samaritan Health Services Foundation's ambulance project, with just a few changes.

Foundation Coordinator Cathy Jelsing and Rugby ambulance crew members met last Friday with Amber Feickert of Farm Credit Services, where they received a donation from the service's PAT Now program. They described the changes to Feickert and the Tribune.

Instead of raising money for a four-wheel drive rig as they originally planned, the foundation will now raise money for a two-wheel drive ambulance.

"It's still going to replace our ambulance that's old and has a lot of miles on it," Jelsing said of the ambulance on the service's wish list. "(The old ambulance) needs to be replaced."

"Everything else is the same. It's going to have a power lift and the power cot, but the crew has said a two-wheel drive ambulance is actually better because it's a smoother ride," Jelsing noted.

Ambulance crewmember Valerie Busch said of a two-wheel drive rig: "It's better for the patient."

Shift Supervisor Cameron Thornberg explained, "A four-wheel drive ambulance is dual wheeled, so they have two sets of wheels on each side. So, they have a rough time getting through the snow. We have a great crew of road graders who will go ahead of us if we have to go out," Thornberg said of calls to scenes off paved roads.

"They go ahead of us when we get to the scene, whereas, if we get a four-wheel drive ambulance, a lot of times you're just stuck worse. Also, the four-wheel drive ambulances ride much rougher. So, for the patients' sake, (two-wheel drive vehicles are better)," Thornberg added.

Jelsing said fundraising continues for the new rig, however, "the amount (needed for the purchase) will go down."

Jelsing said she was working with Thornberg and others to estimate a new figure for the funds needed for the ambulance purchase.

Jelsing and the crew smiled and chatted with Feickert, who presented a check for $7,500 from Farm Credit Services' Pat-NOW Community Fund. The amount will be matched by a CoBank Sharing Success grant to total $15,000.

"Farm Credit is proud to provide grant funds to the Good Samaritan Hospital Association for the Rugby ambulance project," Feickert said.

"The grant funds will go toward the Advancing Ambulance Safety project in Rugby," a Farm Credit Services press release said.

"The grant funds will be used to help provide area residents with the safest possible mobile care by purchasing a state-of-the-art ambulance," the release added.

"The funds will help purchase an ambulance with the latest safety features to provide patients and crew members, an 800 MHz digital radio (for communication with North Dakota State Radio), a power cot and power loader. Based at Heart of America Medical Center, the Rugby Ambulance Service provides the Rugby community as well as surrounding areas with ambulance services."

"Farm Credit Services believes it's important to give back to the community," the release continued, quoting Feickert. "The project will positively impact a six-county area with a total population of over 22,000."

The release added, "Farm Credit Services of North Dakota established the Pat-NOW Community Fund to assist in the implementation and development of projects and programs in local communities and rural areas in western North Dakota."

"The Pat-NOW Community Fund is accepting applications for future funding requests. Interested parties may apply at www.farmcreditnd.com"

The foundation also accepted a $2,500 check from the Midco Foundation.

"Every year, we give to (charities) where our employees live," said Bill Henning, a field technician with Midcontinent Communications. Henning, a Rugby resident, is married to Aimee Henning, a dietician at Heart of America Medical Center.

Jelsing said the foundation is also participating in St. Joseph's Community Health Foundation's Twice Blessed campaign. The campaign matches individual donations up to $15,000. "I've been sending letters out (about the campaign)," Jelsing said.

Donations may be made online at sjchfnd.com/organizations/rugby-ambulance-service/.

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