In the late 1970s the federal and state government decided to make laws to have all emergency medical suppliers to adhere to certain minimum requirements. Prior to this set of laws there were no actual requirements in effect for any of the emergency medical people in the country. The bigger cities usually had ambulance services, but the rural areas were pretty much left out. The only ambulances available were the hearses from the local funeral home. These were the only vehicles available to transport someone to the hospital. Rushville had three ambulances: Todd’s, Moster’s and Wyatt Moore’s; all were hearses. Milroy and, I believe, Manila and Carthage also had funeral homes supplying transportation to those in need. There was no requirement for any of those on the hearses to have even rudimentary medical ability.
The government set up funding to help get this particular situation in effect. They also set up minimum requirements for ambulances and for those who would be called Emergency Medical Technicians. Rush County found itself with Todd showing interest in having at least one or two ambulances available to be used in the city and county. Raleigh and Milroy Fire Departments also showed interest in obtaining and operating ambulances in their territory. Both departments approached the Commissioners with a plan to do this. It was decided to allow Raleigh and Milroy to go ahead and apply for funds for ambulances and EMT courses.
I was involved and knew a young lady who worked with the state on these grants. She agreed to assist us in working on the grants. Verlin Custer from Raleigh and I from Milroy worked along with her to ask for a grant for an ambulance in Raleigh, Milroy and Rushville which was turned down. We reapplied and again were turned down. It seems Raleigh was turned down because of “destructive competition” with Todd’s and Carthage. After the turn down they voted to buy their own unit. Raleigh then obtained a loan from Farmers Home Administration and along with Milroy got their EMT’s certified. At this time, Milroy had had a rash of accidents on 3 and that section of road was described as a Killer Highway. So, for the third time we asked for an ambulance for Milroy only. This request was granted and the county was to own the ambulance. Milroy would run and supply it, expenses would be from the county budget and all funds generated would be returned to the county.