Until this summer, volunteers could be called on at all hours of the day to rush to the assistance of people in need. And the efforts of these volunteer ambulance attendants were recognized at a special dinner last weekend.
Prior to June 1, volunteers were the backbone of the ambulance service in Emo and Rainy River. On Sunday, they gathered at the Emo Legion to celebrate their achievements.
“The event was to recognize volunteers as far back as we could remember,” Grace Silander, ambulance manager for the west Rainy River District, said yesterday.
Certificates of appreciation were handed out.
Among them, James Crackel of the Rainy River service was honoured for 25 years of service and more than 40,000 hours while Mark Mast, also of the Rainy River service, was saluted for his 32,872.75 hours.
Other former volunteers from the Rainy River service congratulated for their efforts were David Johnston (29,276.5 hours), Cheryl Morrison (29,276.5), George Pratt (29,000 hours), Karen Lamoureaux (23,982), and Stewart McNally (19,756).
Volunteers from the Emo service honoured included Rupert Hunter (25,276.5 hours), Lyndia Mann (16,280.25), Jane Allen (16,231.5), Robin Johnson (10,470), Jack Kellar (8,640), and Sandra Gosselin (7,960.5).
Gaydonna Baker and Jan Judson also were recognized Sunday for their years of leadership, mentoring, and training of volunteers in Emo and Rainy River.
Beginning in June, the district had to forgo its volunteer program due to changes in provincial regulations.
At one point, Silander said volunteers were responsible for keeping the programs going—working at all hours and covering vacation times for the regular staff.
“I think dedication and a feeling of compassion to their fellow man kept them going,” she remarked. “To jump on board at 4 a.m. in 50-below [weather] and run to take care of people, my hat’s off to them.”