History of Belvidere Ambulance Corp
It was a rainy day on June 28, 1945 when a young and popular merchant named Matthew Haines was seriously injured a he pushed his stalled car at Front and Greenwich Streets. He was pinned between the driver’s side door and the car when the door struck a power pole. Dr. Herman Baldauf, a local physician, was called to the scene and treated the fallen man. An out-of-town ambulance was called, but it took over an hour for it to arrive. Mr. Haines was taken to Easton Hospital where he passed away due to injuries he sustained from the mishap.
Thus the formation of the Belvidere Ambulance Corps. On July 2, 1945, the mayor and council, responding swiftly to the demands of the people, appointed an ambulance fund committee to raise money for the purchase of an ambulance. The first ambulance committee consisted of David Hosier, Chairman, Homer Hicks, Treasurer, and Thomas Ritter, Secretary. The fund drive was initiated in August of 1945 and was completed just one month later with funds totaling $7,678.85.
The first meeting was held in the town hall on November 6, 1945. At this meeting David Hosier was elected president, Pace Hoff was elected vice-president, Homer Hicks elected treasurer, and Harry Ackerman was named secretary. On January 29, 1946 the first constitution and by-laws were adopted after a second reading. The first session of first aid classes to qualify perspective members had been held in the American Legion home on January 21st. A total of 16 candidates attended and were taught by instructors Homer Hicks and Frank Ransom.
The A. J. Miller Co. of Bellefontaine, Ohio quoted the newly formed squad a tentative price of $3,608 and the extra equipment would cost an additional $256.50. The down payment was to be $200. On May 28, 1946 a letter arrived from the Miller Co. advising the corpsmen that due to war-time priority and the scarcity of sheet metal, they would not be able to finish and deliver the new ambulance as promised and that the cost had increased. The secretary was advised to contact the Miller Company and obtain a revised cost figure. Ultimately the agreement was reached that the ambulance would cost $4,827 with extras totaling $340.52 for a grand total of $5,167.50. The revised figure was executed on February 22, 1947.
On April 1, 1947, the corps received a telegram from the A. J. Miller Co., in Ohio, stating that Belvidere’s ambulance was ready for delivery. On the evening o April 2nd Frederick Green and Harry Ackerman boarded a bus and rode all night to Springfield, Ohio. They changed buses and rode all day until they arrived at a hotel in Bellefontaine at 7p.m. on April 3rd. They contacted officials at the Miller Co. to make arrangements to pick up the new ambulance. They following morning they went to the office of the president and executed the necessary papers transferring the ambulance to the corps. After looking over the ambulance, making sure every thing was there from the check and getting instructions on how to operate the ambulance, they were headed home. On April 6th the pair began the last leg of their journey to Belvidere. However, due to a severe attack of ptomaine poisoning, suffered early in the morning by Frederick Green, they got off to a late start. Green did not drive for a time as he was still recovering. Thus he became the first “patient” to be transported in the new ambulance. The pair stopped near Bethlehem, Pa. for gasoline and to wash the ambulance. They reached Belvidere, with sirens at full blast at 1:15p.m. On Easter Sunday, April 6, 1947
The building committee found land to build the new ambulance building on Paul Street. The land was purchased from the town for $1.00. Ground breaking ceremonies were on August 11, 1946. The new building was built by members and volunteers from the town.
On December 26, 1947, the day after Christmas, the ambulance was moved from the adjoining town garage into the new ambulance building. On June 29, 1948 the first regular meeting was held in the community built squad building.