EMS: A vital community resource


The new mission statement of the Gonzales County Emergency Medical System and what it means for the community is one of the primary reasons a new business or industry would want to locate in Gonzales, Texas.

“The mission of the Gonzales County EMS and Rescue is to serve our communities by providing the highest quality pre-hospital care by saving lives, improving health, implementing public education and working with local agencies. In addition, we strive to preserve a family environment while working together to maintain our tradition of advanced care.”

Under the direction of Medical Administrator Allen Linebrink, the Gonzales Emergency Medical Services and Rescue is a strong reason why someone would want to locate their business in Gonzales or move to the community.

After months of upheaval in the management and oversight structure of EMS, Linebrink was appointed by the EMS Board of Directors as the permanent administrator. In a short period of time, he has moved to shore up the finances and financial reporting systems, made all finances more transparent, consulted and collaborated with the staff, and improved morale immeasurably.

In addition, Linebrink and his staff have set specific goals to improve the morale and quality of staff that is employed by EMS:

• Address benefits like health insurance, obtain direct deposit for employees and reinstate retirement benefits.

• Update equipment: to replace stretchers with power stretchers that are the industry standard to prevent back injuries to EMS and Rescue employees.

• To update communications equipment with new radios that would be able to transmit to our dispatch from any location in the county to keep our employees safe.

• To have a plan in place to replace old ambulances and equipment on a regular basis as they wear out reduce maintenance costs and to maintain a safe environment for our employees.

“We have 28 fulltime employees right now who are highly trained paramedics and EMTs,” Linebrink said. “Plus, we have a highly-trained volunteer rescue squad who are part of our team. The people of Gonzales can rest assured that the level of quality medical service provided to this community is outstanding.

“Now we just have to bring our equipment up to date and we will not take a back seat to any community in the level of care and commitment that we provide.”

The Gonzales EMS started in February 1974 with the first incorporated board of directors being Bobby Fullilove, Dr. Bob Williamson, Kathleen Steckel, Nancy Jackson, Barbara Hand, M.G. Hodge III, Dexter Goodwin and Holland Smith. Eddie Calendar was the first administrator of EMS, and over time he built it into a county service provider.

Prior to the incorporation of EMS, transporting was done by vehicles owned by local funeral homes.

“Later, Andy Rodriguez and Glen founded the Rescue side through donations and fundraisers, and they eventually ended up under the umbrella of EMS when the donations weren’t sufficient to meet rescue needs,” Linebrink said.

Linebrink started his medical career as a volunteer in Rescue, then took classes under Calendar en route to getting his paramedic degree. He was working as a member of the Texas Army National Guard, but he found he loved the EMS service. He eventually was offered a fulltime position at EMS, and he has steadily worked his up through the ranks with dedication, knowledge of his profession and the respect of his peers and fellow employees.

“Over the years, our operation has evolved into a county-wide effort,” Linebrink said. “Under Jim Russell, we moved into Nixon and Waelder which made us a county-wide EMS service. Now every resident of Gonzales County has EMS and Rescue close by, and through reasonable management, we are going to continue providing the best service we can.

“We are going to need more volunteers, however, and training and outreach will be a priority in the weeks and months to come.”

Linebrink said that in addition to the new equipment upgrades, he would like to get new uniforms for all the employees to help with morale and set a new image for EMS. In addition, Linebrink stated he wants to implement community education and lifesaving techniques like Stop the Bleed, more CPR and more First Aid training.

“Some of this we can do for free, and other things we have to charge a fee, but we are here to help and make this a safer place to live, work and play in,” Linebrink said.

“We have highly trained employees who are extremely dedicated to their profession and this community,” Linebrink said. “They are very devoted and are among the best in the business. In fact, some of them even donate their free time to volunteer on the Rescue side of the operation.

“We want to make sure they have the equipment and training they need, and in turn, we will be very transparent and open to anyone who wants to see our books, finances and operations in the future.

“We are here to serve, and I am honored and humbled to be working with these wonderful paramedics, EMTs and volunteers. We are one heckuva team.”