Imagine the year is 1950; you live in Manteca California with a population of 3,500 residents. You have a medical emergency, chest pain, shortness of breath, or a vehicle accident. In 1950, your ambulance would come from the county hospital in French Camp; if they were available.
That was not good enough for Dr. Robert Winters and a determined Manteca Junior Chamber of Commerce member Dale Johnson. The Jaycees decided to enter an ambulance into the Sportsman's Parade. On the sides of the ambulance it read, "It's yours if you want it" The Jaycees had a plan to sell memberships for $3.00 a family, $25.00 for a small business, and $50.00 for a large business. Each plan guranteed at least one free ride within a 25 mile radius. Manteca did not have a hospital in 1950 so all patients were transported to Stockton, Modesto, or Tracy.
November 23, 1950, one week from the ambulance support drive, the team headed up by Dave Vest, Chairman of the committeed for distribution of posers and other educational materials, Harvey Von Golin to handle the merchants and Bob Scudder was in charge of the membership drive. Mayor Hansen urged support of the ambulance program. It took a year to obtain the necessary funds to purchase the $3,100.00 ambulance.
Dr. Robert Winters began training the volunteers in basic first aid and equipment was purchased to stock the new ambulance. December 1, 1951 the Manteca District Volunteer Ambulance Service was in business. Serving the pople of Manteca, Lathrop and Ripon. After a year and a half the Jaycees and Dr. Winter had accomplished their dream of a local team of volunteers and purchased a brand new ambulance for the communites they served.
The volunteers manned the amublance twenty four hours a day, threed hundred and sixty five days a year. Often they would close their own local businesses in order to render care and aid to their fellow community residents. Some days were very hard on these voluneeters, running calls at night and running their businesses the following day. Their familes had to be very supportive and understanding, one minute you were with your family having dinner and the next minute you were meeting up with your volunteer partner and off to help someone in need.
In December 1951 the Jaycees passed a resolution stating that the organization no longer had any connection with the ambulance project. The Manteca Junior Chamber of Commerce originated the ambulance project and carried it to a succesful conclusion. Control of the ambulance was turned over to the newly formed Manteca District Volunteer Ambulance Service, a non-profit corporation. Local attorney John J. McFall handled the corporate filings. The newly formed corporation appointed a nine member board of directors to oversee the ambulance service. Those community volunteers consisted of Dale Johnson (President), Judge E. Douglass (Vice President), George Milner (Secretary and Treasurer), John J. McFall, Mrs. Sylvia Farley, W.E. Keltner, Oscar Breitenbucher, Dr. Robert C. Winter, William J. Johnson, and Ernest Lefebvre. Our community owes these individuals a great deal of gratiitude and thanks for their tenacity and the great deal of time they gave up to volunteer and bring this much needed service to the communities we serve.
Fifty-six years later, Manteca District Ambulance is still a non-profit community based service.
The current board of directors, administrators, and our field personnel are very proud of those who made it all possible for us to be a part of this wonderful organization. In honor of Emergency Medical Services Week, we thought you might want to know how we got started. Look for another article soon, to bring insight about the operation and the people who serve you.
Thank you, Dana Solomon Chief Executive Officer Manteca District Ambulance Service