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Forest City Ambulance Service: Heroes When Seconds Count

May 28, 2021

Healthcare workers have always been heroes, but 2020 showed just how heroic, dedicated, and selfless they truly are. This group includes Emergency Medical Services, which, according to Dale Reyhons, are the most critical area of public service in rural Iowa. Dale is paramedic supervisor and critical care paramedic for the Forest City Ambulance Service (FCAS), a nonprofit volunteer ambulance service available to Winnebago County, northeast Hancock County, and part of Worth County, 24/7 365 days a year. “If you’re having a cardiac arrest or shortness of breath and had to wait for services to get here from a bigger town, the death statistics would be just massive,” said Dale.

Dale is passionate about his patients, community, and his volunteers, and he admits COVID-19 was a scary time for FCAS. If volunteers didn’t feel safe performing their duties, or worse, an outbreak would happen within the crew, operations would have to have shut down. Priority was immediately given to protecting volunteers by providing essential personal protective equipment (PPE). The gear allowed crews to feel safe while continuing to serve the community. “Most of our people are volunteers; they don’t have to be here. They choose to do this for the community,” said Dale. “It’s tough to get volunteers, but once they are in the door, their passion for helping others is second to none.”

Placing emphasis on PPE meant doubling supply costs. A $10,000 grant from the Winnebago County Community Foundation, a CFNEIA affiliate, helped offset some of the cost. “The grant allowed us to protect our people better, protect the community, and continue to operate. If we didn’t have the PPE, our services would not have continued,” said Dale.

This story is part of our 2020 Impact Report.