Ambulance service obtains money to finish renovations

By Gus Bode

Governor releases funds for projects across Illinois

A few months after employees at Jackson County Ambulance Service thought they would have to finish renovating the Murphysboro facility themselves, Gov. Rod Blagojevich decided to release funds for special projects across Illinois, which will give the service money to finish the project.

Dottie Miles, director of the ambulance service, said if Blagojevich had not released money, the new room would be done a little at a time, depending on when the ambulance service had extra money.


“After we ran out of money, we pretty much just stopped there,” Miles said. “This will enable us to finish without waiting.”

The first half of the grant was released months ago, but the ambulance service was told by state officials they might not be able to get the second half of the grant because of state budget issues, Miles said

The grant was approved for $50,000; however, until the Blagojevich announcement, the ambulance received only $25,000.

Improvements to the building had to be left unfinished until the ambulance service could find extra money to replace the second half of the grant. Paramedic Shannon Rice said it could be one of the busiest facilities out of several locations throughout the county. The facility has an area for employees to rest during down time and also a garage for ambulances.

Paramedic Gary Bartlow and Rice sat Sunday in the Murphysboro facility’s half-finished crew quarters between emergency calls. Until the first half of the grant was received, the Murphysboro facility was one of the smallest.

“It gets a little cramped up,” Bartlow said.

The money from the first half of the grant paid to build a new room, more than double the size of the old one.


The announcement that the second half of the grant will now be made available could not have come at a better time, Miles said. She said with cooler weather just around the corner, it is the perfect time to do remodeling.

Like other projects completed at the service’s facilities, Miles said employees had said they would volunteer their time to make the improvements themselves.

Rice and Bartlow said this is because they have to spend a lot of time in the buildings and they want them to be as comfortable as possible.

The Murphysboro facility was built in the late 1970s, and the room where the paramedics, who work 12-hour shifts in the building, spent their time was a little bigger than a large bathroom.

“It just got to a point when it was terribly small,” Miles said.

Getting the grant for remodeling was supposed to help preserve the service’s money for other things.

“If we didn’t have to pay for remodeling, we would have extra money to buy medical equipment,” she said.

The newly released money will pay to finish the new room’s floor and put up trim around the room.

Reporter Destiny Remezas can be reached at [email protected]