GREENVILLE, Ohio / LIBERTY, Ind. — Two area communities showed their support this past weekend as employees from Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, returned home after weeks of serving on the frontlines in New York and New Jersey.
Last Friday, the team of ambulances that deployed from Liberty, Ind. and Greenville on April 9 returned home. Then on Sunday, the crew of four personnel who were working in New Jersey arrived back home after working in that state since April 17.
Upon their return to each state, the management team of Spirit coordinated with other emergency professionals and planned a homecoming parade.
“As a company and community, we wanted to show our high level of appreciation for those who went to serve in the epi-center of COVID-19,” explained Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, president/CEO Brian K. Hathaway. “The homecoming parade was a true display of the brother and sisterhood we have as first responders. It was heartwarming to see so many organizations and community members come together and show their support towards those who had been out serving the sick and injured.”
As the crews headed up to Liberty, awaiting their arrival at the edge of town were units and personnel from the Liberty Fire Department, Liberty Police Department, two units from the Union County Sheriff’s Office, two units from Reid Health, and three units from Spirit Medical Transport, along with the four units that had been on deployment.
Once arriving at the Union County station, Hathaway said those who were deployed spoke of their experiences on the frontlines before departing back home to be with family and sleep in a bed that was very unfamiliar to them after being deployed for three weeks. Those who were on deployment will continue to self-monitor for any symptoms but have continued to remain healthy.
Then, shortly after noon on Sunday, the four crew members who were deployed to New Jersey arrived back in Darke County. As word spread that they were returning, Capt. Jerome Dotson facilitated a parade to welcome them back into town. As the crew drove up Ohio Route 49, they were greeted just south of Pitsburg by Hathaway, along with his wife and daughter Audrey and Naomi; two EMS crews from Spirit, including Capt. Dotson, Paramedic Lucinda Ledbetter, EMT Cameron Brunswick, and EMT John Hathaway. Also joining in the parade route was Arcanum Fire Department, the Darke County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville Township Fire and Rescue, and the City of Greenville Fire Department.
As both parades of vehicles approached the stations, family members of the Spirit employees who were deployed anxiously awaited the arrival of their loved ones. With video cameras rolling, emotional tears of joy, and many hugs and kisses, family members and fellow colleagues listened intently as they spoke of their experiences on the frontlines.
“Once taking some time to unwind, crewmembers then unpacked their ambulance of personal belongings, restocked the unit of supplies that were used, and then headed off to spend the rest of the days to follow with family,” Hathaway said. “All of those who traveled to New Jersey commented on how safe they felt with the PPE that was provided to each of them.”
Amongst those deployed over the past few weeks were Colt Grillot, Tyler Pratt, Josh Didier, Tony Beyke, Wanda Schroeder, Julie Case, Amanda Fellers, Brian Brown, Steve Kellem, and Richard Schupp to New York. Those who served in New Jersey include Charles Rock, Todd Marburger, Mike Woodford, and Angie Weidner.
“Spirit’s response to New York and New Jersey was a direct result of a contract the company holds with AMR as a network provider,” said Hathaway. “AMR is the primary medical ground transportation division of parent company Global Medical Response.”
As the nation’s largest provider of ground medical transportation and FEMA’s prime emergency medical service response provider, AMR has a national agreement with FEMA to provide ground ambulance, air ambulance, paratransit services, and non-ambulance EMS personnel to supplement the Federal and Military response to a disaster, an act of terrorism, or any other public health emergency, he explained.
“We are very proud of our staff for all they did while serving in New York and New Jersey,” Hathaway said. ”For many, this will be an experience they will never forget. Not only was it a blessing they were able to serve, but we will be able to take their experiences in hopes of better preparing for anything unforeseen in the future. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers that were passed our way. As the nation continues to fight this virus locally, we are still on the front lines helping to serve and care for these infected patients day in and day out. Our community has pulled together well, and we’re appreciative of all the support.”