January 15, 2009

Mercer County Ambulance volunteers earn yearly honor

Audrey Kerner, Beulah, was recently honored as the 2008 Beulah Volunteer of the Year by the Mercer County Ambulance Service.

"It’s really nice that they gave me (this award)," Kerner said, "but I don’t think I’ve done anything special to deserve it."

Volunteer Marcia Steffen, Hazen, was also honored as the Hazen squad’s volunteer of the year. She became an EMT in June 2006 and immediately began as a volunteer with the ambulance service. In 2008, she took 1,262 hours of call time and responded to 41 ambulance calls. (A profile on Steffen will run in next week’s issue).

The ambulance service, founded in 1971 as a private nonprofit, has five paid employees and 36 volunteers, according to Marianne Schmitt, executive director of the ambulance service.

"It’s important to give recognition to volunteers because they take so much time away from their families," Schmitt said. "Audrey (Kerner) has logged over 1,300 hours of call time last year. That’s like having a part-time job."

Kerner has been a volunteer since 2001, and said she gets a lot out of her work on the ambulance.

"I am the biggest chicken in the world when things happen, in emergencies. Before I did this I would watch the medical channel and couldn’t really watch it – you know, see the medical stuff. Knowledge gives you a certain security that you know what to do in an emergency."

The Weather Network