Spirit of Christmas exudes at party

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Shown here are three of the six ambulances that were acquired this year. (Linda Moody photo)

GREENVILLE – Once again, those attending a Spirit Emergency Medical Services Christmas party were truly entertained, thanks to President/CEO Brian K. Hathaway, Vice President Aaron Guthrie, and the managerial staff.

The event began late Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10, at the Darke County Fairgrounds in the Youth Building and Coliseum.

Early on, attendees were directed to the Coliseum, where there were surprises unveiled and people honored with appetizers on hand.

One of the reveals was when Hathaway introduced three young men who hail from Australia and are now working for the local ambulance service.

In a first for both the United States and Darke County, these Australians are now members of Spirit Medical Transport. They are Hugh Walton, Karl Kleinekathoefer, and Phoenix Waters. More are expected to arrive after the new year begins. (Linda Moody photo)

“Two years ago, Australia had more paramedics, unlike here in the United States,” Hathaway said. “I went to Myrtle Beach and spent the day learning about the Australian process and the amount of training their paramedics get, and I said, ‘We’re going to do this.”

The three arrived here on Nov. 15 and have passed their classes.

“There will be three or more to come in February,” added Hathaway, who noted that all employees would receive special uniforms with an Australian theme. “We’re excited about this.”

Items that were introduced at the reveal were:

•Six 2021 Dodge Ram Promaster FR Conversion Ambulances fully stocked with brand-new equipment

Brian K. Hathway revealed one of the six new power load stretchers that were purchased for Spirit this Christmas season. (Linda Moody photo)

•Six Stryker Powerload stretchers that can carry patients up to 800 pounds

•Two transportation buses with wheelchair lifts to ensure the company has backup buses for the school transportation it provides

•Four brand new power stair chairs designed to automatically take someone up stairs without having to use any brute strength.

•Four binder lifts that are used to help safely move people who have fallen from the floor to a standing position and/or to safely move them from their bed to the cot.

One of the Community Partner Awards went to the Darke County Agricultural Society, with Fair Board President Greg Pearson, right, accepting it from CEO Hathaway. (Linda Moody photo)

Community Partner Awards went to Brian Resor of Ohio Signs; Darke County Agricultural Society, with President Greg Pearson accepting; Sam Suter of Greenville National Bank; Lyndsey Huffman and Annette Ryan of Greenville Federal; Jennifer Rolls, Henry Schein; Tara Savon of Penn Care; Paul Haynes of Ferno; Mag Mikesell of Mikesell Monograms; Pete Landry of Stryker; Jim Hackney of Sunset Awards; and Scott Monroe of BAS Fire.

Hospital Partnership Awards were awarded to Wayne HealthCare, Ohio Health Van Wert Hospital, Paulding County Hospital, Wilson Health, Mercer Health, Reid Health, Joint Township District Memorial, Lima Memorial Health System, Mercy Health Defiance, and Promedica Defiance Regional Hospital.

Recipients of the President’s Awards for completing EMT classes this past year were Lelani Allison, EMT Graduate; Brittany Butts, EMT Graduate; Lydia Heeter, EMT Graduate; Jeffrey Manning, EMT Graduate; Sheri Roberts, EMT Graduate; Cynthia Bruner, EMT; Theodore Bruner, EMT; Rebecca Laney, EMT; Karl Kleinekathoefer, EMT; Jeanie Lewis, EMT; Matthew Mulligan, EMT; Kenyada Pitts, EMT; Abigail Raffel, EMT; Jonathan Reinhard, EMT; and Adrain Todd, EMT.

Volunteer Appreciation Awards were presented to Ann Ditmer and Cheryl Emmons of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Greenville for driving the sign truck in every community parade.

More elves that Brian K. honored were those who helped with the meal for the Christmas party. They were, from left, Larissa Winchester and, his wife, Audrey, and daughter Naomi. (Linda Moody photo)

Another award was presented because of a life-saving incident that occurred in July in the county and that will be featured in the Life’s Reflections column on Monday, Dec. 18. It was a solemn surprise to the audience.

A meal, prepared by Audrey Hathway, with the assistance of daughters Naomi and Larissa Winchester, was served afterward in the Youth Building, where more gifts and recognitions were handed out.

The entire evening featured sound provided by Josh Artin.

Additional awards presented were:

Tonya Keller of My County Link accepted the Media Partner Award on behalf of My County Link from Aaron Guthrie, left, and Brian K. Hathaway. (Linda Moody photo)

Media Partner Award: My County Link with Tonya Keller accepting; Sidney Daily News; and Miami Valley Today.

Santa’s Elves were also honored. They were David and Bonnie Snyder, Carol Hathaway, John and Deb Hathaway, Audrey and Naomi Hathaway, Larissa Winchester, Cindy Bruner, Darleen Wilcox, Amanda Fore, and Anita Miller.

2023-24 Bus Aid Recognition went to Darleen Pearson, Bonnie Behee, and Lucas Miller, substitute bus aide.

Among those honored for their work with Spirit are David Snyder and wife Bonnie. (Linda Moody photo)

Recipients of the 2023 Perfect Attendance Award were Darla Berger, Curt Garrison, Lucinda Ledbetter, Doug Puderbaugh, Lynnetta Rock, Wanda Schroeder, Dennis Sigman, and Sarah Stump.

Brian K. Hathaway, President/CEO; Aaron Guthrie, Vice President; Brian Brown, Operations Manager; Sarah Stump, Director of CDST; Curt Garrison, Project Manager/Captain; Theodore Bruner, Director of HR/Regulator Compliance; Anita Miller, Life/Career Coach; Amanda Fore, Executive Administrative Assistant/Accounts Payable; Darleen Wilcox, Administrative Assistant; Carie Pope, Director of Employee Relations/Communications, HR Assistant; Ron Cruse, Captain; Doug Puderbaugh, Captain; Josh Henry, Captain; Leah Poling, CDST Supervisor; Amanda Kellem, CDST Supervisor; Scott Wolf, education director, and Julie Oliver, interim CDST supervisor, received management team recognition.

Jeremy Miller accepts his award for hours he worked this year from Spirit Vice President Aaron Guthrie and President/CEO Brian K. Hathaway. Miller recorded 2,580 hours. (Linda Moody photo)

Hours awards were handed out to Spirit employees who have worked more than 169,500 hours this year already, including 27,500 hours of overtime. Recognized were: EMT John R. Hathaway Jr., 3,079 hours; Advanced EMT Jeremy Miller, 2,580 hours; Paramedic Doug Puderbaugh, 3,457 hours; Administrative Assistant Carie Pope, 2,770 hours; CDST Amanda Kellem, 2,381 hours; and driver Wanda Schroeder, 2,916 hours.

Another highlight of the evening was when Hathaway reported these accomplishments of Spirit in 2023:

-Ongoing partnership growth with area hospital partnerships.

-Began a paramedic class in June of 12 students, with 12 students still actively involved in the class.

-Held the first-ever EMS boot camp for high school students interested in EMS.

-Opened a new satellite station in Defiance, Ohio.

-Successfully secured a three-year contract with the Houston Joint Ambulance District to provide 9-1-1 ambulance service to 52 square miles of territory in Shelby County.

-Successfully began an EMT and paramedic contractor program to help cover shift voids.

-Was contracted to begin providing EMS coverage as one of two supplemental contractors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

-Began utilizing the oxygen generating system purchased last Christmas.

-Successfully held two EMT classes and trained 15 new EMTs

-Was approved and implemented onto the Ohio MARCS radio system

-Sponsored and participated in the Outreach/STEM 2D/Expo.

-Was nationally recognized for Spirit’s recognition and retention programs.

-Supported and received the first Medicaid ambulance increase in 47 years from Indiana Medicaid.

-Supported and received notification of substantial increases coming to transportation reimbursement from Ohio Medicaid in 2024.

-Received new patient transport ventilators.

-Successfully implemented a work Visa program with Australian paramedics to address the workforce shortage.

-Secured apartment locations for the Australians and contract employees used to serve company needs.

-Successfully held four management and three employee retreats focused on the betterment of the company.

-Began a new livery service portion of the business.

-Added Amanda Kellem and Josh Henry to the Spirit EMS management team.

-Sent out educational information to Darke County Jobs and Family Service clients on transportation hours of operations, services offered, and cancellation policies.

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus (aka Jeff and Shari Wappelhorst) were on hand and were introduced by Brian K. Hathaway. (Linda Moody photo)