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July 8, 2020

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15 minutes with Tom Miller: "One team, one mission"

In an interview with Tom Miller, Chief of the Ada Liberty Ambulance District, we learned how many runs they make, how it is funded and organized, and how fully equipped it is to serve residents of the village and township.

How many runs do you make?
Nearly 600 annually.

Where do you get the money to operate?
Mostly by billing private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid. There is an Ada/Liberty tax levy. We receive some gifts and grants. We get donations from ONU, and they work very well with us.

How is it organized?
 By a three-member board consisting of Brad Hays, township trustee; Beth Fenton, village council; Terry Keiser, at-large. Nancy Bucher is clerk. I am chief while Dot Jordan and Kevin Cieploski are supervisors.

How did you get interested in helping others?
I was in law enforcement in Logan County, saw the need, took training. I joined the Ada squad in 1999, have been chief for five years.

This is a volunteer ambulance service. Are there requirements to join?
You must be willing to sign up for at least 36 hours a month and keep your training up-to-date. You are always learning about new medical procedures and equipment, medicines, laws. For example, we have a complete protocol book on how to handle a case of Ebola. And we have the equipment to maintain safe conditions for everyone.

How many people are on the squad?
21 active volunteers plus 5 who are finishing their clinicals. Currently, we have three ONU students and we would like to increase that number. The new nursing program has brought more interest among students; they are exceptional. We are always looking for more volunteers. If interested, call 419-634-7729 and leave contact information.

You probably experience some heart wrenching situations.
Yes, There there are people on call who we can talk with anytime, it's a Critical Incident Stress Management program for debriefing and to talk about the run.

Where do you transport people?
We go to the closest appropriate facility for the patient's needs, most often Lima, Kenton or Bluffton hospitals. We do not transport patients for doctor or hospital appointments.

How do you get your calls?
From 911 calls to the sheriff's department who relays the information to us. We have a minimum of two people on call. There is still a need to rely on neighboring districts due to occasional low manpower in Ada.We do continue to offer and receive mutual aid when there are multiple injuries.

Do you call Lifeflight?
Yes, we make that decision.

How many ambulances do you have?
Two, one bought in 2011 and one in 2014. They cost about $190,000 each unequipped. They contain the latest in equipment and medicine. For example, the cardiac monitor shows blood pressure, pulse rate, heart rhythm. This information is directly sent to the hospital. When we arrive, the patient is taken directly to the cardiac unit where a team of doctors and nurses are standing by and already know a lot about the patient's condition.

What type of modern equipment is in the ambulance?
Cardiac defibrillators, CPAP for severe respiratory problems, IV equipment.

What do you live by?
Our motto is one team, one mission. We are team-oriented. No one person saves a life. All patients are treated with the utmost respect.
(Monty Siekerman)