Bumpy ambulance ride prompts donation for air-ride equipmentAfter a bumpy ambulance ride, Dean Strand opened his checkbook to help make a change for his community.
By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic
After a bumpy ambulance ride, Dean Strand opened his checkbook to help make a change for his community.
Strand, who is retired, served the Mitchell Fire Division and its associated ambulance service for 42 years and drove ambulances daily during his career. It wasn’t until a heart attack in February that Strand rode in the back of one.
During an ambulance transfer to Sioux Falls, Strand had severe chest pains.
“The pain had become so unbearable that every bump in the road gave me the idea to holler up front to just pull over to the side of the road and throw me in the ditch,” Strand said.
Once Strand recovered from his heart surgery in Sioux Falls, he began to think about the ambulance ride.
“My thoughts were that with all the modern technology, there must be an ambulance that has air-ride to make the bumps less noticeable,” Strand said.
He brought the idea to Mitchell Assistant Fire Chief Paul Morris, who informed Strand he was seeking such an ambulance but because of the added cost of approximately $8,000, the department wasn’t sure it would be approved by city officials.
“I told the chief if he could find someone else to pay for half of the $8,000, I would personally donate the other half,” Strand said.
Morris brought the issue to the Avera Queen of Peace Foundation, which donated the $4,000 to match Strand’s donation.
On Wednesday, Strand wrote the check to the city of Mitchell in Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg’s office and handed it to City Councilman Jeff Smith.
By February of next year, the city will roll out its new transfer ambulance equipped with air-ride suspension and four-wheel drive.
Morris said the new ambulance will be one of a kind in South Dakota.
“Hopefully, it is the new standard for the future,” Overweg said.
Strand hopes to stay away from the new rig.
“I hope I never get to find out if it works or not,” he said.
Dean Strand, right, talks Wednesday with Mitchell City Councilman Jeff Smith before Strand wrote a check for $4,000 to help purchase a new ambulance with air-ride suspension. Strand, who was motivated by a bumpy ambulance ride following a heart attack, presented the check at the Mitchell Public Safety Building. The Avera Queen of Peace Foundation matched his donation.