by Florence Hallford
Local farmer John Stinson has long supported the Lovington Ambulance Service. As a former board member, Stinson knows how much the ambulance service relies on donations to stay up and running. So when he had a chance to apply and win a $2,500 grant from Monsanto, he did.
That, in turn, led to an award ceremony March 24 where the grant check was given to the ambulance service.
The Monsanto fund is through America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program. Since its inception in 2010, more than $16 million has been donated to more than 6,500 non-profit organizations. To be eligible, entrants must farm a minimum of 250 acres of corn, soybeans or cotton, 40 acres of open field vegetables or at least 10 acres of tomatoes, peppers or cucumbers grown in protected culture. Stinson has been farming since 1969 and currently farms about 1300 acres of corn and soybeans. “I was brought up on a farm and always enjoyed farming,” he said.
Login or Subscribe to read the rest of this story.
The decision for Stinson to choose the Lovington Ambulance Department as the grant recipient was easy.
“I’ve always donated to them,” he said.
Darin Powell, current board member and volunteer EMT for 22 years and counting, was present at the ceremony last week to accept the grant from Jason Pitcher, AsGro-DeKalb district sales manager for Moultrie County. Powell, who become an EMT in 1992, followed his father’s service.
“It struck me as a good way to get back to the community,” he said.
The $2,500 grant will go towards a 12-lead defibrillator. As with any equipment, two must be purchased; one for each ambulance. A refurbished unit costs around $10,000 and new units are more than $25,000. The defibrillator allows early detection of heart incidences, such as heart attacks, though the readings must be interpreted by a physician. The Illinois Heart Institute is encouraging all ambulance services to have the equipment.
“Thanks to donations, we can get the equipment that we need,” said Steve Fleming, current Lovington ambulance board member and volunteer EMT. Fleming has been with the ambulance service for 38 years and has served on the board off and on for 30 years. Volunteers do not get paid for their service to the ambulance department, and currently there are 13 volunteer EMTs.
Besides donations, expenses are paid through insurance and memberships. Memberships are available for $60 per year and cover anyone in the household for two ambulance trips per household. If the membership is used up before two years, members may renew for two more trips for $60. Memberships are available at Hardware State Bank and Hammond Bank. Insurance is also billed, but without the membership, patients must pay for what the insurance does not cover. With ambulance trips averaging $1,000 and copays that do not cover the entire bill, the cost can get high.
As a thank you for Stinson’s generosity and dedication, he was awarded a lifetime membership to the Lovington Ambulance Department and is covered for any calls.
“They didn’t need to do that for me,” said Stinson. “It made me feel good that I was able to do it. It was well worth the while.”