Gladbrook partners with Grundy Center EMS

One of Tama County’s ambulance departments that has been in existence for nearly 50 years will be looking to a neighboring community to help bridge the gaps in their 24/7 emergency service.

The city of Gladbrook recently formalized an agreement with the city of Grundy Center to provide supplemental emergency ambulance services to the city of Gladbrook and outlying areas served by the Gladbrook-Lincoln Ambulance Service.

Following the departure of director Samantha Aman in September of 2020, Gladbrook-Lincoln Ambulance Service has been unable to recruit a replacement director to lead the department.

The ambulance service, first chartered in 1972, is currently comprised of 10 volunteer members, most of whom work full time on top of their volunteer duties. The absence of a paid director during the work week has made it challenging to find enough members to respond to calls while those working full time would normally be at work.

The agreement provides Grundy Center EMS with $1,750 per month from the city of Gladbrook to make available their ambulance service when volunteers from the Gladbrook-Lincoln department are unavailable.

The Gladbrook-Lincoln Ambulance Service maintains two ambulance trucks and will continue to answer calls with their own staff and equipment when volunteers are available to do so.

Prior to 2021, Grundy Center EMS had already been providing back-up services for the Gladbrook-Lincoln department through mutual aid, but with the prolonged absence of a director, the city felt it was best to establish a formal arrangement to ensure continuous coverage for the rural communities.

Calls for ambulance services in the Gladbrook area will be dual-paged to both the Grundy Center EMS and Gladbrook-Lincoln departments while the agreement is in effect. If Gladbrook-Lincoln has members available to respond, they will call off the Grundy Center department and respond to the call.

Should the Gladbrook-Lincoln Ambulance Service find a candidate for the director position, the agreement with Grundy Center is able to be terminated within thirty days.

Gladbrook-Lincoln Ambulance Service board president Kathy Vavroch said the department intends to continue searching to fill the director position while the agreement with Grundy Center is active. Community members that know somebody who may be interested in applying for the Gladbrook-Lincoln director position are encouraged to contact city hall.

“We still are the Gladbrook-Lincoln Ambulance Service, Vavroch said. “If Grundy Center shows up to a call in our area, it’s just because we didn’t have a crew available at that time. Our community has been very supportive and we’ve appreciated everything they’ve done for the ambulance department. This is one way to be able to provide those services around the clock; to collaborate with surrounding towns.”

Vavroch encouraged members of the community to consider volunteering with the department if they’re able and willing to help.

“If anybody has time they can volunteer to become an EMT or help the service that way, we’re always willing with open arms toward new volunteers and new faces on the crew,” Vavroch said.