By Louie Graves
State Highway 26 which generally crosses Howard County in an east-west line through Center Point, will be the border of ambulance coverage territories when a new ambulance company goes into service in Dierks, possibly within a week.
The Howard County Quorum Court gave unanimous approval Monday for Guardian Ambulance Service to establish a base of operations in Dierks. Owners Ryan and Hannah Pate, along with Budd Dunson, attended Monday’s meeting of the Q-Court.
Ryan Pate told the court that he was trying to find a place to locate the service, and would eventually buy property and build a facility. Through the court’s legal counsel, Aaron Brasel, Pate submitted a contract which specified what type of vehicles, number and qualifications of staff, licenses and insurance. He proposes to sell memberships in the service.
Pate said he had three vehicles which he would rotate between north Pike County and Dierks. The company is seeking a contract for one year. Pate explained that the contract would give him time to see if the service would work, and would give the county time to see if it was satisified with the quality of service.
After some modifications are made to the county’s 9-1-1 emergency system, calls from persons living north of Hwy. 26 will automatically go to Guardian. Sheriff Bryan McJunkins said that the radio dispatchers would be able to accommodate the service until the 9-1-1 adjustment is made.
Dierks JP Gary Welch made the motion to approve, and the second was given by JP Kerry Strasner. Strasner and former Dierks JP Cotton Cothren for several years worked for the establishment of an ambulance service in north Howard County.
County Judge Kevin Smith told the newspaper that he expected the service to be active possibly within a week.
The topic was discussed for 20 minutes. The only other action before the JPs was approval of a budget adjustment ordinance.
The whole court was present for Monday’s meeting, including JPs Welch, Strasner, Dick Wakefield, Kirk Bell, Jerry Harwell, Bobby Don Turner, Martha Hobbs, Brent Pinkerton and Janice Huffman. Also, Judge Smith, Sheriff McJunkins, Circuit Clerk Angie Lewis, Treasurer Sherry Mixon, County Clerk Keri Teague along with her deputy Taylor Stone, administrative assistant Kookie Buice and Brasel.