Grand County EMS celebrates 50 years of service
Grand County EMS’s 50th anniversary celebration featured three helicopters, two fire engines and a fleet of emergency response vehicles.
The county-approved cookout at Kaibab Park in Granby included masks, social distancing and a gathering of emergency responders beyond just EMS. Members of Grand County Search and Rescue, the sheriff’s office, local fire departments and the Granby police stopped by to commemorate the occasion.
The EMS department was initially formed as a basic level ambulance provider under the sheriff’s office in 1970. The celebration Saturday marked 50 years of ambulance services in Grand County.
“Grand County EMS has come a long way,” EMS Chief Robert Good said. “It’s a milestone I think. Fifty years from where this has come to now is just a big celebration. We’re looking forward to the next 50 years.”
According to the Sky-Hi News archives, what is known today as Grand County EMS began in January 1970 when the Grand County Sheriff’s Office purchased an ambulance. It was built by the Superior Ambulance Company on a Ford Truck Chassis equipped to handle four patients and paid for through a community fundraiser and state grant from Gov. John Love.
The ambulance service went on to obtain two Cadillac ambulances, based out of a small room at the courthouse. The ambulances were stationed where planning and zoning are located today.
In 1974, the ambulance service became its own department. The service introduced EMT-Intermediates in the 1980s and established paramedics in the 1990s.
It went on to become a full time EMS department in 2001, with voters passing a two-mill levy property tax in 2003 to support EMS.
Good is still relatively new to the chief position, after taking over the position in February.
“Ray Jennings, my predecessor, has done a phenomenal job of getting us to where we’re at,” Good said of the former EMS chief, who retired last year after 16 years on the job. “Now it’s me moving forward.”
Saturday’s celebration brought together the community of Grand County’s emergency responders, with the Grand Fire Protection District giving rides on the fire engine ladder while EMS workers grilled burgers and hot dogs. It featured three helicopters, which landed in the baseball fields.
The best part of Grand County’s EMS department has always been the staff, according to Good.
“This is a good group of people that cares for the community, cares for the visitors,” he said. “They give it their all when they’re working.”
Good explained that the department is looking at increasing staff and renovating stations to continue providing service as the county and its number of visitors grow. He hopes Grand County EMS continues to flourish and provide quality service for the next 50 years.
“We want to be there for the needs of the community and the visitors,” he said.
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Cranmer Chapel is offering a free chicken dinner from 5-7 p.m. tonight.