Local County EMS Service Thriving Despite Tough West Texas Economy

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

GLASSCOCK COUNTY--Emergency crews had their hands full Tuesday night, responding to icy wrecks.  For many towns, there's just not enough people to go to those calls.  With the economy, some can't even hire people or get volunteers to help.   But in Glasscock County, they've found a way to thrive.

Garden City is a small, tight knit community where everybody knows everybody.  And it's those interpersonal relationships that are the key to how their volunteer fire department and EMS operate.

"We want to be there to help because what if it were my mother, my grandmother or my son or daughter?  That's how we look at it," EMS Administrator, Christy Seidenberger, said.

According to Seidenberger, the volunteers consider all the residents in the County their friends and neighbors and the service they provide is crucial, "We have about a 45 minute drive to Midland or a 28 minute drive to Big Spring.  Without that service, people would have to find their own route to town or wait on Midland or Big Spring to respond."

The current staff of 7 volunteers are either licensed EMT's or paramedics.   But by March that number will change.

"We just finished up a class and we will soon have 7 new, eager volunteers, which we are looking forward to, which will nearly double our manpower," Seidenberger explained.

Glasscock County Sheriff Keith Burnett can't praise these men and women enough.

"Their service provides tremendous help to us.  All of our volunteers are probably one of the top notch volunteers there is," he said.

In the past, County Commissioners have offered to pay these volunteers for their service, but they refused.   According to Burnett, that says a lot for their integrity, "You have people out there willing to volunteer, willing to work.  They're not out there to make a little extra money.  They're out there to help."

Seidenberger says it's the combined efforts of the volunteers and the support they get from county officials, that make it possible for the EMS service to exist. "If we did not have a volunteer EMS service, I don't see that there would be an EMS at all."

The EMS service in Garden City is a non-profit organization.  It offers 100% free services to all the residents of the community.