Rockford Ambulance

Rockford to celebrate heritage this weekend

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

Heritage Weekend is the celebration of Rockford’s history, and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) invites you to take a step back in time and enjoy a simpler life with special Harvest Fest events scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, October 2 and 3. During Heritage Weekend visitors can enjoy hayrides, strolling entertainment, music, a caricature artist, scarecrow making, kids’ tractor pull, the Great Pumpkin and a variety of fall activities. Remember old-fashioned games like sack races, hula-hoop contests and the limbo? These fun games and children activities, along with the Great Pumpkin, will be set up in Garden Club Park in downtown Rockford. Best of all, participation in the good old-fashioned games and children’s activities are free! D&W Plaza is the place to be to see local emergency vehicles, including the Rockford Police/D.A.R.E. car, Rockford fire engines and Rockford Ambulance for bike safety. Visitors can participate in a blood drive with Michigan Blood, get a flu shot and enjoy family fun by participating in children’s games and pumpkin painting. Rockford’s 25th Annual Harvest Fest Chili Cook-off is a sure-fired winner, and the local fire chiefs who judge the contest know all about fires. The Harvest Fest Fourth Annual Car Show is predicted to be bigger and better this year. This event has showcased incredible cars dating from Model T’s and street rods to elegant classics. Visiting families and friends share histories with each other, noting cars they grew up with or seeing their dream car. Ask your firefighter friends who are judging this contest what is their favorite “ride.” The Kids’ Tractor Pull will be featured during the Car Show and is sure to be fun for all. Before the children get on their mark to get set and go, the Rockford coloring contest winners will be announced. Those interested in participating in the coloring contest may go to D&W Fresh Market, The Rockford Squire newspaper or Vorpi Chiropractic to get an entry form. Last, but not least, is the Rockford Fiddle Fest. The third annual West Michigan Fiddle Competition will be a tribute to the music of yesteryear. Talented musicians will be competing for prize money in the Junior, Teen and Adult divisions. Prize money for each division ensures the event will be very competitive […]

Merengue the night away after free classes

April 22, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford Ambulance leads the way in popular dance  After this free class, your spouse will be so good you can likely rent them out at the next wedding or visit to a local night club. At least that’s what paramedic and dance instructor Andy Andresen joked about Rockford Ambulance’s upcoming merengue dance classes. Rockford Ambulance has been offering free dance classes as their gift back to the community and they have been very popular. The next class teaches the basic moves of the merengue—a dance originated in the Dominican Republic. The class begins on Tuesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. and lasts 10 weeks. “It started out as a friendly gesture to get to know the firefighters and police officers we see on the job,” Andresen said. He pointed out that ambulance paramedics often cross paths with firefighters and police officers in the course of dealing with patients, but a fire or car crash is not conducive to casual conversation. Circumstances are often quite dire. “We are both busy then, usually handling equipment. They are trying to cut people out of cars and we are trying to keep them alive,” Andresen noted. He said spending time together learning a variety of popular dance styles seemed like a friendly, healthful activity. Andresen was already a dance instructor in addition to his duties as a paramedic. A former criminal investigator, he has plenty of respect for the difficult jobs firefighters and officers face. Begun in the Grattan Fire Department truck garage, the classes were as successful as Andresen hoped, and with encouragement of Rockford Ambulance CEO Roger Morgan, Andresen decided to open the classes up to the general public. Two sets of swing classes have been offered. Last time, 80 people called to take advantage of the sessions, so they had to be split up into two separate classes. Andresen said he welcomes such a response again, but believes fewer people are likely to sign up in the summer months. Those who have taken a previous class are also more than welcome to return. “Some of the civilians are quite good,” Andresen noted. “They ought to consider private lessons and doing some competitions.” He said, regardless of aspirations of semi-professional dance fame, those who take the classes […]

Waltzing worries away popular at ambulance station

December 23, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Thirteen-year-old Tessa Paul-Cox didn’t really want to go to the free dance classes her mother Sandra has been enjoying so much, but once she arrived, she saw many others were having a great time. Sandra and Tessa were two of about 30 people who showed up on an off-day practice session on Tuesday, November 24. Rockford Ambulance offered the classes as a way to give back to the community and pass the time in a healthy way. Su Grey is a paramedic and one of the instructors of the program. She couldn’t be more enthusiastic, either during the classes or about them. “Our phones were ringing off the hook,” she said, when the nonprofit company announced the start of the classes. She said so many people signed up for the six-week course that the ambulance staff had to schedule two classes to accommodate everyone. Nancy Popma, who works for Cannon Township, said she learns something new every class, and the steps are easy to master. Milissa Soderstrom also works for the township. She said the two show their co-workers the new moves they learn each week. “We go back to work the next day and show the girls at the office,” she said. “It’s almost like our whole office is learning.” People don’t need dance background to participate, and don’t have to be couples. Grey said plenty of people show up by themselves and the ambulance staff step in as partners. First Rockford Ambulance volunteered to teach local first responders dance moves as a fun way to fill up the hours at the ambulance station, where the staff puts in long days. The program went over so well they decided to invite the public in as well. Chuck Premer, emergency medical technician and instructor, joked that if an emergency should occur requiring the staff to leave, class will be canceled. “And if someone has a medical issue during the class, at least they are in a good place for it.” Grey is pleased that a wide variety of participants have signed up. Margaret and Don Smith were having a great time during the practice session. “We’ve learned to dip and swing. There is a lot of rhythm, even if I have too much feet,” […]

Morgan shares story of Rockford Ambulance

October 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

Historical meeting tells tales, next is November 5 at 7 p.m. In 1972, Rockford Ambulance was in its infancy with $5,800 in assets and one van. According to director Roger Morgan, despite humble beginnings the service has always been a leader in care. He spoke before the October Rockford Historical Society meeting on Thursday, October 1. “Rockford Ambulance has always been ahead of the curve,” he stated. At the time the staff was all volunteer and service calls were $10. In 1973 a board was brought on to help run the service. Offering ambulance service was encouraged by the county as a benefit to residents. Larry Root was the only wage earner on the management team. He took in $30 a week for his efforts while others, including Dave Pederson, worked for free. “I got this information off a piece of parchment that looked like the Declaration of Independence should be written on it,” joked Morgan of his research materials. Back then Rockford Ambulance was struggling to buy the radios they needed. He said care during transportation was different from today. Calling it the “V8 treatment” because of the fast vehicles and said the technique was to get the people into the van and “go like heck.” In 1983 the service had an annual budget of $158,000. Medics were paid $2.50 an hour. They were paid hourly until 10 p.m. and after that earned $3 per call during the night. When Morgan was recruited to lead the company in 1984, the station was housed with the City of Rockford Department of Public Works downtown. “They called and said, “We threw a bunch of applications in the air and yours came out on top,” Morgan recalled. “They offered me $15,000 a year to run the service. I said to them, “You better call the guy who came in second.” We settled on $18,000.” Morgan said he was the 340th paramedic licensed in the state of Michigan. Back then there were only ten protocols allowed to paramedics—only ten treatments that could be used before getting to the hospital. “Now there are 200,” he said. In 1985 the ambulance began offering the Care Plan Membership, where a cost of only $39 per year covers a family from out-of-pocket […]

Dance your troubles away with free classes at Rockford Ambulance

October 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

  “It’s a natural for paramedics to endorse it.” Chuck Premer, media coordinator and paramedic at Rockford Ambulance, referred to a series of classes coming up at the Rockford Ambulance facility at 8450 Shaner Avenue. The public is invited to sign up for free waltz lessons taught by the Emergency Medical Technicians and staff of Rockford Ambulance. According to Premer and his co-workers, the dance lessons are appropriate for all ages and are a very healthy form of exercise. “This is a starter course, anyone can take it. If they can walk, they can dance,” said Su Gray, Operations Supervisor at Rockford Ambulance. Gray demonstrated some moves—lifts and swings—but pointed out that the program is actually very simple and waltz is much easier to learn than people might think. Paramedic Andy Andresen began the program at a different location and has been teaching and competing in dance for years. He is associated with Silvestro Studios dance center at Plainfield and the Beltline, where he teaches. He is happy to offer his time for free in these dance classes. “We offered it for firemen, EMTs and police and it was kind of popular,” Andresen said. He said it is important for rescue personnel to keep in good physical shape and first came up with the concept as a fun way for first responders to keep fit. The classes were such a hit with those who took them Andresen thought it might be a good idea to open them up to the general public. Rockford Ambulance’s CEO Roger Morgan heard about Andresen’s idea to offer it through the Rockford office and was happy to approve the plan. The classes are free and will be open to the first 20 couples that sign up. Someone without a dance partner is invited as well. “We have plenty of EMTs here to help. Even Chuck has some real nice moves,” Gray stated. Andresen said dance television shows have increased interest somewhat, but not as much as he’d like to see. The enjoyable activity is a fun hobby that couples can do together. He pointed out that it is an activity that can continue on into later years, unlike many sports or other physical activities. “You can have some hot Latin […]

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