Local ambulance campaign nears goal

$380,000 and counting.

That is the amount fully committed to date to UnityPoint Health’s “Lights and Sirens: Keep them Rolling” $400,000 fund-raising campaign started by the Foundation in 2017.

One new ambulance has been ordered, and a second will be once the final $20,000 is received, said Deirdre Gruendler, UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown Foundation executive director.

Hospital officials asked the foundation to take on the fundraising challenge because ambulances serving the hospital and other communities were in need of replacement due to high mileage and wear and tear.

Gruendler told the Times-Republican earlier this week full commitments totaling $380,000 have ranged from $3 to $100 to a $60,000 challenge grant.

Donations have come from throughout the UnityPoint Health service area — from Marshalltown to Conrad to State Center.

“Also, UnityPoint Health Marshalltown team members and providers have contributed more than $25,000 to the campaign,” said Gruendler. “We are so grateful for the care they provide everyday. This generosity is one more example of their commitment.”

She also cited the local Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation and the generosity of other Central Iowa residents and businesses throughout the hospital’s multi-county service area as critical.

The Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation previously awarded a $60,000 outright grant to the ambulance campaign, and a $60,000 challenge grant also to the initiative.

“The Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation Board of Directors knows ambulance services are essential for the communities in our region,” said Karn Gregoire, executive director of the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation. “We are grateful UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown is continuing to provide this care. Martha-Ellen’s vision for her foundation was it would help Marshalltown prosper and grow. The Challenge Grant provides an opportunity for our community members to engage in this vision as well.”

Also making significant contributions have been the local 100 Women Who Care, the Assistance League of Marshalltown Emerson Process Management-Fisher Division, Lennox Industries and RACOM.

A new ambulance costs an estimated $193,000, and requires five months of customized work by a Sumner company.

When delivered in the near future, it will replace an ambulance with high mileage and significant wear and tear.

When UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown acquired the former Central Iowa Healthcare assets earlier this year, it took ownership of an ambulance fleet in serious need of significant investment. One of the four ambulances is nearly at 200,000 miles, and a second more than 140,000 miles.

Due to severe financial challenges, including bankruptcy, the former CIH could not make necessary ambulance replacements.

UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown EMS Service is the only emergency transportation entity for all of Marshall County, as well as Conrad in Grundy County.

Dustin Wright, president UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown, told the T-R last month he was thrilled a new ambulance had been ordered.

“With a positive response from the generous people and organizations in our communities to the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation’s Challenge Grant, the second ambulance can be on order soon,” he said. “We are grateful for the support, as UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown works to rebuild healthcare in Marshalltown and in the communities we serve.”

Donations to the ambulance fund may be made to the UnityPoint Marshalltown Foundation, 3 S. 4th St., online at https://marshalltown.unitypoint,org/foundation/make-a-gift/ or via phone at 641-754-5005.

By the Numbers …

• $193,000: Cost of a new ambulance

• 5,500: Projected 2017 transports

• 180,000: Approximate number of miles on oldest ambulance

• 150,000: Miles when upkeep makes an ambulance costly to operate

• 130,000: Estimated 2017 miles the EMS crews will log

— All data provided by UnityPoint Marshalltown Foundation

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611, or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com