‘Ability to serve your community and make a difference’ New ambulance co-managers named

By: 
Jordan Gerard

The Spring Grove Ambulance service has the addition of two co-managers after their longtime director retired in May.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), Angie Halverson and Jon Speltz, are eager to take on the job of managing the service. It was an ambulance board decision to have two managers versus one.

“I think going with co-managers creates a situation where there is always two people who can run the service,” Halverson said. “If one of us gets sick or injured or is otherwise unavailable, there is another person that can take over.”

She and Speltz took over June 1 after longtime director Kristy Folz decided to retire. 

She was part of the crew for about 18 years. According to Halverson, Folz left “big shoes to fill.”

“Kristy did a great job of training me on the day-to-day operations of running the crew, but I am learning something new every day!” Halverson added. Halverson has been on the EMT crew for a little over two years.

Currently, she handles the paperwork such as submitting reports to the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board (EMSRB), billing, preparing payroll and handling employee-related training and re-certification.

Speltz is handling the maintenance of the ambulance, equipment and making sure the ambulance is stocked and ready to go at all times.

Previously Speltz worked as the assistant manager last July. In that position, he learned duties of Folz’s job. He has been a member of the ambulance crew for 20 years and a member of the Spring Grove Fire Department for 32 years.

Together, they will oversee the hiring of new EMTs. Speaking of new EMTs, the ambulance crew is in need of new members.

“The decision was to have an equal partnership, to run smoother and more efficient with two people being responsible,” Speltz added.

Right now there are seven active EMTs to cover the service 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Though they aren’t sure how many EMTs could be hired, about four to six new crewmembers would put them in great shape, Halverson said. 

“That is our number one priority right now ... recruiting, hiring and training a few new people,” she said. 

Those interested should contact Halverson at 507-498-3967 or Speltz at 507-498-5487. Even for those not interested in becoming an EMT, anyone interested in EMT life in general can talk to the managers and members.

You can even schedule a ride along to see how a patient goes from ambulance care to healthcare. 

As for the current members, they’re striving for the best EMTs they can be, and Halverson and Speltz are there to help.

“I want each one of our crewmembers to feel like they have a voice,” Halverson said. “If they have an idea or a suggestion, I want to hear it. I want decisions about new equipment and procedures to be crew decisions.”

They’re also aiming to have a bigger presence in Spring Grove. During EMS week Halverson invited daycares in Spring Grove to go to the ambulance and learn a lot about EMTs and what they do.

“It was an incredibly fun experience for me as well as all the kiddos that came!” she recalled. 

More opportunities like this will be coming up in the future. Halverson said they’ve received a lot of ideas for events. 

Speltz added that he and Halverson want more transparency for the crew, board and community. They want to be more visible in the community, but not only when they respond to an emergency.

“When people see us it’s usually the worst time of their life,” he said. “There’s things we can go to that show positivity. We want people to feel comfortable with us.”

They’ve also started a Facebook page for the ambulance in order to get more people communicating. 

So far, helpful tips such as heat awareness, safety in general and EMT recognitions have been posted. 

And here’s a little known fact recently posted: 

“If you call the SG Ambulance to ‘get checked out’ but are not actually transported, you do not get a bill. We can do vitals, bandage wounds, treat minor injuries and give advice, but if you “refuse transport” and sign a waiver of liability for us ... there is no bill for that. Your health is important and if we feel you need to be transported, we’ll tell you in no uncertain terms. Please don’t make the mistake of not calling for help because you don’t want the bill. Your health and safety are priceless!”

Speltz said Spring Grove has the best equipment and best crew and they’re looking to move forward and move up.

“We want to be better and we’re working on that through the crew and equipment, working more closely with the board and sharing our joys and concerns,” he said.

In addition to building their presence in the community, Halverson and Speltz are also working to build a good relationship with the fire department.

“We would like to do more training with them and learn a little more about how we can best help them on the scene of a structure fire,” Halverson said. “Our patients are always first in our minds and to give the best care possible we need the best training we can get.”

Halverson added that the crew is “incredibly dedicated and I hope people know how lucky they are to have such terrific EMS services in Spring Grove.

“It’s a privilege to be working with this group and the fact that the board has hired Jon and I to manage them is an incredible honor,” she concluded.

Additional EMT members include: Stephanie Jaster, Paul Folz, Gary Hempel, Andrea Donlan, Kat and Jason Azevedo and Dan Albert.

Board members are President Jim Solum, Vice President Mike Wiste, Secretary Karen Folstad, Treasurer Heather Gray, Arden Auna, Don Landsom and Todd Passig.

“We thank the community and rural areas for our ability to serve them and the opportunity to do it, and we greatly appreciate it,” Speltz said.