GONZALES — Gonzales County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has made a lot of changes over the course of the past seven months, and people are noticing.
Not only has EMS been given a new transport ambulance, they have also updated their communications equipment, purchased one new power stretcher, taught almost 100 people how to “Stop the Bleed,” reacquired health insurance for all full-time employees and added direct deposit for them as well.
And that’s not all that is in the pipeline.
“We’re trying really hard, but we’ve still got a lot of funding issues to resolve,” said Allan Linebrink, the director of EMS. “We’re trying to work on those issues too. But the majority of our funding does not come from the services we offer and provide—it comes from the taxpayers and we’re trying to fix our needs so we can continue to provide quality emergency services to the people who live and work in Gonzales County.”
According to Linebrink, his goals are to upgrade equipment, get new ambulances, and train more people on CPR and “Stop the Bleed.”
“We need new ambulances and power stretchers really bad, but unfortunately, they cost a lot of money that we don’t have right now,” Linebrink said. “But we have done a lot, and our Emergency Rescue side is doing a great job in getting things done.
“Some of the things we are doing are little things, like hiring an outside billing company to do our billing and hiring an outside accounting service out of Seguin to keep our books. We want to be as transparent as possible.
“We have even created a separate account for donations,” Linebrink added. “Now, all donations are put in that account and whatever the donation was for that’s what we earmark it for. If someone donates money for a ‘Stop the Bleed’ kit, that’s where that money goes and that is what we will specifically use it for.”
There have been some other changes at EMS, including new officers and board members. Ray Nietsch is now president, Johnnie Hall is vice president, Barbara Hand is Secretary-Treasurer, and Leah Kernan is the new medical director.
“I would like to mention all the great work that Dr. Robert Williamson did for EMS while he was our medical director,’’ Linebrink said. “He dedicated a lot of his life to EMS and he deserves a lot of credit for what he did. He has been nothing but gracious to me, and he’s done a lot for this community over the years.”
In addition to the new officers and medical director, there are some new members including Frank Wallace, Roy Crawley, Michael St. John and Johnnie Hall. They join Gilbert Philippus, Frank Benes, Lois Willman and Bubba Hermann as the Board of Directors of EMS.
There are some interesting facts that EMS shared with the Gonzales Inquirer as well. Since the Stop the Bleed program started a few months ago, 98 people have been trained. Over 100 people have received CPR training, and over 800 students have been given a presentation on the program.
In November, a golf fundraiser netted over $39,000 for EMS (which included a $20,000 donation from Gonzales Healthcare Foundation). They have also placed stickers on emergency units remembering fallen EMS staff, including Matt Griffin.
And speaking of Matt Griffin, his parents William and Kathryn Griffin donated $2,000 to EMS to purchase new uniform shirts for EMS. The shirts should be delivered any day, then will be embroidered locally.
“I just want everyone to know we are working hard to provide the best emergency services we can,’’ Linebrink said. “We’re doing our best for the people who live here, and we hope we can keep the momentum going.
“We even received a pat on the back from the ESD (Emergency Services District) board last month which was nice. They have been so supportive and wonderful to work with and I want to thank all of them for their help.”