Moweaqua Ambulance on track to close

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MOWEAQUA, Ill. (WAND) - The ambulance service that has served Moweaqua since 1982 started as a volunteer-run service, but currently, it has been on a downward spiral.

Brookie Spa, the service's EMT Coordinator, says her parents were part of the first group of volunteers with the non-profit  organization. She says, it takes about $250,000 a year to run.

The service is an independent entity that funds itself. It receives no tax dollars or help from the Village of Moweaqua. Just recently the service had to hire paid employees because volunteers became sparse. Without hiring employees, the service would have closed last year. However, it is still struggling to find volunteers and now is running very low on funds. 

Spa says, "Just recently, everybody's realizing, 'what our ambulance is leaving?' Nobody wants it to go, and at times you feel like people don't care. They care, they just don't know what to do."

The service functions with 17 paid employees and 10 volunteers, but not all are active. All of those who work for the service say they love serving the community and fear if the service is canceled, people will suffer.

Mitch Hartman, a volunteer EMT who has been with the ambulance service since 2002, says community involvement is second nature.

If the service is canceled, Moweaqua will rely on other area ambulances like Decatur and Pana. Michael Jennings, a paid paramedic, says, "I've got family members that live in Moweaqua, and they're not in the best health. Knowing that the closest ambulance is going to come from 20 minutes away, my family members might not survive."

Other community members feel the same way like Brittany Dugan who lost her 6-month-old baby in August. "We needed the ambulance ASAP because my daughter basically aspirated and I had to give her CPR," she says. "Within minutes of calling 911, Moweaqua ambulance was there for us. If it wasn't for them, for the time of 5 minutes of me doing CPR, I would've been doing it for 20 to 25 minutes."

Unfortunately, Dugan's baby Lillian Rose later died, but she was grateful the ambulance service gave her baby a fighting chance. She feels that if she had to wait for another 20 minutes, there would have been absolutely no chance of her baby surviving. She also says another 20 minutes of her doing CPR would have taken much more of an emotional toll on her. She says Lillian Rose is the reason the service needs to stay.

The ambulance Board has decided to close once its bank account hits $20,000. The remaining money will be used to pay leftover bills and payroll. If the ambulance service continues with no extra funding or volunteer help, it will close as early as March 2018.

If you would like to donate, you can send a monetary donation to P.O. Box 85, Moweaqua, IL 62550.

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