If there were a theme to the Grenora Ambulance Service, it would probably be family. Maybe because many of its members actually are.
“Kind of come from a family of it. We were up at the lake one day and there was a call and we all jumped in the car and went over and worked on a patient together. It was kind of fun,” says Jeri Warrenburg, EMS director and paramedic with the Grenora Amublance Service.
Warrenburg and her husband are one of three couples that are part of the ambulance service crew, which is made up three full-time staff members, four part-time employees, and six volunteers.
Though a small crew of only 13, they collectively make their presence known, with a combined 180 years of service among them.
“This crew, for as small as they are, they give a lot of volunteer time,” says Warrenburg.
Recruiting staff members can be challenging, which makes volunteers all the more invaluable.
“I called our squad leader at the time and asked her if I could take a class. And when I called, she said sure. Would you be interested in joining the ambulance? And I was very scared but I decided to try it. That was 24 years ago,” says Kari Pittenger, a volunteer EMT and the longest serving crew member.
In addition to recruiting difficulties, the job has other challenges.
“”I’ve unfortunately had to pull a few kids out of cars that didn’t make it. Those are probably the toughest ones just because they have so much more left that they could have done,” says advanced EMT Don Warrenburg.
But the first responders say there’s something about the work and the community they serve that compels them to the field.
“This is the only job I’ve had that I truly enjoy doing and that I think I’ve been called to do,” says Don Warrenburg.
“My husband and I moved here 28 years ago and loved the community. Fell in love with it. And wanted to stay. And loved the people. Just wanted to give back and help them out,” says Pittenger.
The Grenora Ambulance Service has a theme of family-
with a spirit of giving.
KX News is proud to give back to those who answer the call when we need them the most.