Cooperstown Ambulance

Ambulance? What's that? Just call the doctor and get him out here.

So it was in days gone by.  Doctors used to go to their patients and treat in the home.  No need for an ambulance then.  But when one was needed to get someone to the hospital, Dr. Almklov or Dr. Westley was called and he would often go and pick up patients and accompany them to the hospital.

In 1934 Selmar Quam came to town and with his remodeled four-door Chrysler he provided ambulance service for years.  He removed the front passenger seat and also the upright support post of the car and replaced it with a bolt lock, double opening door.  Service with comfort is what he gave.  As the years passed, Selmar updated to a combination hearse ambulance and after thirty-four years of service decided to turn over the ambulance work to the city.  March 11, 1968, a new Dodge van was purchased from VW Motors in Cooperstown, North Dakota for $2,375.  The van was then insulated, paneled and equipped and served as the Griggs County Ambulance with Sheriff Kenneth Johnson as its main coordinator.  The service was manned by all volunteer people with emergency Red Cross training.

In 1972 the City saw the need for a back-up unit to take secondary calls and standby when the main ambulance was gone on a run.  February 14, 1973 the City purchased a 1968 Pontiac ambulance-hearse combination at a cost of $5,040.00 and the service began to grow.

The state and federal laws were becoming more demanding on ambulance services and the North Dakota legislature passed a state law for ambulance services to meet certain standards of equipment and trained personnel in order to be a legally licensed service.  Because of this the training of ambulance people intensified.  The first E.M.T's (emergency medical technician) in Griggs County were Sheriff Johnson and Ron Grandalen.

Ron Grandalen took over as squad leader and intensified his and all other volunteers training.  In 1976 the Griggs County Ambulance had seven full federally registered E.M.T's to give the best possible emergency care available.  In 1977 Ron Grandalen moved from Cooperstown and Dale Severson was elected new squad leader.  A class of E.M.T. training began for the first time in 1978 with Dr. Pierce as instructor.  Sixty community-minded citizens took the course and boosted the ambulance squad to over twenty registered E.M.T's.

The next project for the Ambulance Squad was a drive to obtain a new ambulance, which cost approximately $25,000.00.  An application to the State was made by the squad leader, city mayor and all of city council, for a new ambulance.  The first application was refused but one year later the second application was approved for seventy percent matching funds up to $16,000.00 maximum.  March 11, 1980, exactly twelve years to the day, since the service was started, they purchased from Forman Bus Company a 1980 Ford Maxi-van Ambulance, fully equipped for $25,755.00.  Federal funds covered $16,000.00 worth and the Cooperstown community supplied the rest through memorials, contributions and fund-raising events.

In April of 1980 the Cooperstown City passed a citywide, five-mill levy for the ambulance service.  At that time the Ambulance Service was renamed the Cooperstown Ambulance.

The staff has dwindled in numbers some because of people moving and loss of certification of E.C.T., but the volunteer squad still has fully registered E.M.T.€™s to serve our community well.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 232

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