Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Medevac Employees Celebrate Reunion

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Medevac Employees Celebrate Reunion

Article excerpt

For emergency dispatchers, there are good calls and bad calls.

Topekans Natalie Glenn and Angie Smith remembered a few of both Saturday afternoon at a reunion of former employees of Medevac, which provided ambulance service for the Topeka area from 1983 until 1997.

"You saved lives with these people," Glenn said of the nearly 100 people who attended the reunion at the Sunrise Optimist Club's activity center, 720 N.W. 50th. "It's a family reunion, not a Medevac reunion."

Medevac became Shawnee County's ambulance service in 1983, said Tom Little, who was operations manager for the company at that time. Ambulance service previously had been run by Topeka's hospitals, Little said.

When Medevac won Shawnee County's bid, Little said, the company had to purchase ambulances and equipment and hire new personnel.

"It was from the ground up," he said.

In 1986, Little took an opportunity to purchase Medevac from its California owner, and the company dispatching ambulances from Topeka became a stand-alone operation. Saturday marked the first reunion for former Medevac employees, about 18 years after Little sold it to American Medical Response. He now works as an ambulance consultant.

Little said former employees were treated in a way that made them feel their contributions were meaningful, and because burnout usually occurred after about five years, employees with five years of service received rings in recognition of their service, similar to class rings, Little said.

Mickey Woodrow, who was patient accounts manager for Medevac and was Little's first hire, organized the reunion after interest was expressed via a Facebook group page for hundreds of former Medevac employees.

Glenn and Smith remembered working at Medevac's office at S.W. 4th and Jackson -- now the site of AMR's office -- in 1988 as a tornado came barreling toward downtown Topeka. …

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