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TVA seeking volunteers

| January 2, 2007 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Troy Volunteer Ambulance needs more members.

In hopes of getting them, TVA on Jan. 9 will begin training people interesting in becoming emergency medical technicians. Once certified, volunteer EMTs will be asked to be available for four, 12-hour shifts a month, said member Shawn Thrasher.

Shifts run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. While on shift, volunteers are asked to remain within 3 to 5 miles of Troy.

"It doesn't mean you have to sit at home," Thrasher said. "Today, I have 15 different things to do. I'll have my radio with me and will stay within 5 miles of town if needed."

TVA has 12 active members from Troy, Iron Creek and Savage and Bull lakes. Shifts are covered right now, but more people like volunteer Warren Edson are needed.

Edson, director and a resident of Elohim Camp and Retreat Center across from Bull Lake, became a volunteer EMT three years ago.

"Being director of the camp, I thought it would be a good skill to have," Edson said. "And longtime members Rick and Nancy Tallmadge were getting ready to retire."

Edson noted being a volunteer takes a commitment.

"It takes a lot of commitment to get through the class, pass the national test and do the practical for the state," he said. "You have to spend time each month and keep up your skills."

The EMT class that begins in January will run from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and six hours on Saturdays at the Troy Ambulance barn at 205 Third St.; Saturday hours have not yet been set, Thrasher said. The course will end in mid-May.

TVA hopes to get six to eight new members. So far about five have expressed an interest, Edson said.

TVA's coverage area extends southeast on Highway 2 toward Libby to Kootenai River's China Rapids, south to the Sanders County line on Highway 56, and north to the Idaho border and Canada. It also includes Yaak.

"The Yaak (Volunteer Ambulance) service closed (about one year ago) so Troy picked up the coverage," Edson said.

Right now, TVA is holding its own.

"Eventually, it's going to get tight for those of us that are running," Thrasher said. "Most volunteers have families and jobs."

A volunteer on and off for 18 years, Thrasher finds it worth while.

"You're serving the community that you live in," he said. "It keeps the small rural (ambulance service) going. We don't have the assets to go to a fully paid service."

For information, call 295-6505.