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Foundation awards funds for new ambulance

Worthington Regional Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Robert Demuth Jr. (third from left) presents a $169,792 check to Sanford Worthington Medical Center Friday afternoon. The funds will be used to purchase a new ambulance. Joining Demuth are Mike Christensen (from left), Jason Johnson, Paula Chapulis, Lisa Barkeim, Bob Miller, Ambulance Services Manager Dave McNab, Stephen Heimgartner and Rick von Holdt. (JULIE BUNTJER/DAILY GLOBE)

WORTHINGTON — On his last official day as executive director of the Worthington Regional Healthcare Foundation, Robert Demuth Jr. was joined Friday by several foundation members in presenting a $169,792 check to Sanford Worthington Medical Center.

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The funds will be used to purchase a new ambulance, replacing one of four ambulances in the hospital’s fleet.

“This is going to provide service not only to our residents, but the people who travel through our area,” said Ambulance Service Manager Dave McNab. “It’s going to have an impact on lots of people for a long time to come.”

The Worthington Regional Healthcare Foundation, created five years ago with funds from the sale of the then-city owned hospital to Sanford, has contributed nearly $1 million to health-related causes.

“It certainly fits the foundation’s mission statement,” Demuth added. “We were reminded how our funds were originally transferred to the Foundation, and we just felt it was appropriate to give back.”

Because the ambulance service is hospital-based, and Sanford Worthington Medical Center is not a critical access hospital, McNab said it is difficult for the service to access grants to help cover the costs of response vehicles and equipment.

He expressed his thanks to the healthcare foundation for meeting the ambulance service’s needs.

“I think it’s a great example of local and regional healthcare providers collaborating together to ensure that we’re going to be able to continue to provide pre-hospital (care),” McNab said. “From the moment they dial 9-1-1, they’re going to have a professional, safe and reliable response and transportation.”

The new ambulance will take approximately six months to build. It was ordered from North Central Emergency Vehicles in Lester Prairie.

McNab said the last new ambulance arrived in 2006.

The ambulance will come equipped with a Stryker battery-powered cot, which McNab said is a good feature for the patient and EMS staff.

“We still have to fill it with all of the necessary equipment,” McNab said, noting that additions will cost “several thousands of dollars more.”

Some of the equipment will be transferred from the ambulance that will be retired from the fleet.

Because of the roughly 400-square-mile service territory, McNab said one of the bigger issues is high mileage on their fleet. Last year, the four ambulances logged more than 80,000 miles in approximately 1,800 runs.

Demuth said the funds like those given for a new ambulance on Friday have bettered the community.

“I think it’s made a major impact in our market area,” he said of the Worthington Regional Healthcare Foundation.

During his five years as the foundation’s executive director, Demuth developed grant applications and guidelines, and identified areas of need to which grants could be awarded. After “building the foundation to what it is today,” Demuth said he wishes the foundation well in the future.

With new members serving on the foundation board, the decision has been made to hire a full-time executive director. Demuth, who currently serves as a Nobles County Commissioner, wasn’t interested in taking on a full-time role.

“I want to stay semi-retired,” he said. “I just didn’t have the time to take on a full-time job at this stage.”

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

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