"On Feb. 16, 2007, at 7:02 p.m., Carla Welch of Union City, was the first patient of Spirit EMS on Feb. 16, 2007. She attended the 15th anniversary of the ambulance service Sunday and is shown with co-owner Brian K. Hathaway. (Courtesy photo)

Spirit throws family-friendly fest for its 15th

GREENVILLE—There was something for everyone as Spirit EMS celebrated its 15th anniversary Sunday afternoon in conjunction with the onset of National EMS Week at its location on State Route 49, Greenville.

Open to the community, the celebration attracted an estimated 200 people.

“We also had numerous employees who came out to celebrate as well,” said Brian K. Hathaway, a Spirit co-owner with brother-in-law Aaron Guthrie.

“We were blessed to have amazing weather and a phenomenal turnout,” Hathaway said. “It was so neat to reminisce and see the faces of numerous people over the years who have been so supportive of our business…from retired school teachers who have watched Aaron and me grow much older; and retired, and present facility and hospital staff to past patients, who came out to show their support. It was also great to see parents bring their children out to see the ambulances and helicopters up close, while also enjoying the various family-friendly activities we had available for all to enjoy.”

Hathaway went on, “It’s because of the great employee base we have that has led to the past 15 years of success. Our staff members are the backbone of our organization who day in, and day out, carry out our motto of ‘Our Family Taking Care of Your Family.'”

He said it was great to have  Spirit’s first patient-ever, Carla Welch from Union City. attending the event.

“On Feb. 16, 2007, at 7:02 p.m., Carla was the first patient to ride in a Spirit ambulance, being taken from Wayne Health Care to a Dayton hospital,” Hathaway recalled.

Also visiting the celebration were Mick Maher and wife Nancy. Mick was one of the organizers of Greenville Area Rescue Service, which had its beginnings in 1975.

Maher, who retired in 2000, seemed to be proud of what he was seeing at the festival.

Sunday’s event featured a petting zoo, complete with a pony, donkey, goat and rabbit, provided by Trails and Tails 4-H Club which formed in 2019; food trucks from Mike’s Concessions, Bohndox Pizza Concessions and Kona Ice; and the arrival of aircraft from CareFlight, partnering with Premier, and MedFlight of Preble County in partnership with Kettering Health.

Deejay Brian Zika, (aka DJ Zik) of Toledo, was there throughout the afternoon. He said he is an electronics technician who deejays in Ohio, Michigan and southern Indiana.

Also, entertainment-wise, the Mississinawa Valley High School Taiko Drummers, under the direction of Audrey Hathaway, Brian’s wife, performed.  Audrey reported that the drums were all handmade as were their uniform, and invited anybody who wanted to check them out to do so.

There were also complimentary Bouncy Houses, children’s games, and face-painting available.

Kona Ice began serving free ice to the first 100 guests from 2 to 3:30 p.m., and the trailer was well-visited.

Also highlighted  throughout the afternoon were tours of the new education and community center next door; the cutting and consuming of the anniversary cake; and Greenville City Fire and Greenville Township Rescue conducting extrication training and answering questions from the public.

“We also presented EMS Week t-shirts for the employees to wear all week,” Hathaway said.

In his report to the crowd on Spirit’s 15-year history, he mentioned Spirit has seen monumental growth of the eight original people.

“We still have five of those eight,” he said.

But, perhaps the biggest announcement came after Hathaway presented this brief history on the ambulance service.

He recognized all its current and potential future employees with a special presentation and challenge.

A lucky employee will be the recipient of $10,000 at the Christmas party in December.

“The $10K is for anyone who is hired between now and Sept. 15 who maintains perfect attendance after onboarding with us until the Christmas party,” Hathaway said. “There will be a drawing for one lucky winner.”

And…here it comes. Those from now until the Christmas party who earn perfect attendance will receive this…..and onto the grounds came a 2022 Toyota RAV 4.

“The car is for any current employee of Spirit (as of Sunday) who has perfect attendance and picks up eight extra shifts between the start of EMS week on Sunday and our December Christmas party,” he said. “There will be a drawing for one lucky winner.”

Vincent Kroterfield of Van Wert, last year’s winner of the 10,000, spoke to the crowd about how grateful he was to win that prize.

“I was employed in 2019 and Nov. 6 had emergency surgery,” he said. “I thought my chances were done. So thankful they did that. I came to appreciate this company and its good leadership.”

Greenville City Fire and Greenville Township Rescue did their demonstration immediately prior to Hathaway’s presentation. The cars used for the demo were donated by Meadows Towing.

“Smash the Ambulance was on the west side of the building beside the extrication demonstration.

“From that, we raised $125 for the Cancer Association of Darke county,” he said.

Starting out initially with a fleet of five vehicles and eight employees, Spirit now serves with nearly 100 employees and more than 50 vehicles from its six locations including Celina, Greenville, Houston, Sidney, and Van Wert, in Ohio as well as Liberty, Ind. Many of those ambulances were on display Sunday.

A petting zoo entertained the crowd at the Spirit EMS 15th anniversary special. A pony, donkey, goat and cat were there and sponsored by the Trails and Tails 4-H Club. (Linda Moody photo)
Mick Maher, one of the founders of Greenville Area Rescue Service, attended Spirit's celebration. (Linda Moody photo)
CareFlight and MedLife helicopters were on the scene for part of the celebration on the Spirit EMS grounds on State Route 49-South. (Linda Moody photo)
Here is the 2022 Toyota RAV4 a lucky full-time employee with perfect attendance will receive at this year's Christmas party. (Linda Moody photo)
Darke County Now Staff - Linda Moody - Staff Writer

Linda Moody / Staff Writer

I am a Darke County native living in the Ansonia area with my son. I have been in journalism 50+ years and enjoy what I do.

Contact Darke County Now Media Correspondent Linda Moody @ lmoody@darkecountynow.com or 937-337-1955.

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