WEST, Texas (KWTX) – The West Volunteer Ambulance Association, one of nine remaining volunteer ambulance services in Texas, is holding a fundraiser Sunday for a new ambulance that will serve and save lives for people in the West and neighboring regions.
Volunteers respond to emergency calls 24/7 in the west and towns up to 20 miles around the west.
“‘I worked last night from 5 to 7 p.m.,’ said Garrett Uptmore, a volunteer EMT from West. “You just don’t know where to make a call. four in the morning, you never know.
Uptmore volunteers while working full time. He is one of West EMS’ few volunteers, but about ten years ago he would have been one of more than 60 volunteers.
“After the explosion in 2013, we reduced the number of volunteers,” Marek said. “We had 64 volunteers. We’re down to 22. Of those 20, 13 are active, so the majority of them are in the ambulance most of the time.
This group of volunteers responds to more than 90 calls a month, transporting patients about 20 miles south of Waco or north of Hillsboro, where the nearest hospitals are located.
“We put a lot of miles on the ambulances, and having the three ambulances we have, we are going to have to, within a year or so, replace the oldest one, otherwise we are going to carry them out,” Marek said.
Even though they are short on volunteers, they are still striving to improve their equipment and response times by striving to get a new ambulance. They are asking the community to participate in their fundraiser to help fund the new addition.
“So the main reason for this advantage again is that we can buy an ambulance here soon,” Uptmore said. “At least in this way, this advantage will be able to help us to devote a large part to a new ambulance.”
A new ambulance would cost over $300,000.
The fundraiser will take place Sunday at 11 a.m. at Knights of Columbus Hall in West. Uptmore said there will be barbecue dinners, an auction, raffles and a live band. All proceeds will go to fund the new ambulance.
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