In August 1971, the announcement was made that all the funeral directors in the five county area of Daviess, Gentry, Worth, Mercer and Harrison would terminate their ambulance service. This action meant Daviess County would have to set up some type of ambulance service by Jan. 1.
An ambulance service was soon made possible by the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club and the Rotary Club, each paying $500 to underwrite the cost of the service for a period of six months. The service was to be set up as a non-profit corporation and known as the Emergency Ambulance Service and would operate on a 24 hour basis.
A locally hired driver would provide Gallatin’s service. Membership for the ambulance service was to be $10 per year per family. A vote was to be taken to pass a special tax levy. Even if this levy passed, there would still be a charge for the ambulance trip.
In October, a meeting was held composed of the Daviess County Court and Mr. Wallace, a member of the State Department of Health. They planned to have ambulance service with both Gallatin and Pattonsburg having an emergency vehicle. Mr. Wallace said his office goal was to get an ambulance where needed in 20 to 25 minutes. He also stated the Highway Safety Act provided matching funds for ambulance purchases and one fitting the needs of the Gallatin community would cost $8,732. Daviess County’s poor financial state was a barrier to the program and there wasn’t any surplus funds to operate an ambulance service.
When the levy was voted on, it failed to pass by 61 votes. It was illegal to call another special election before 12 months. However, it was thought if the ballot proposed the setting up of an ambulance district which would embrace the entire county another election could be held.
With only two weeks to solve the problem, Robert Calvert, who’d operated an ambulance service in Kansas City for five years, agreed to provide a manned 24 hour service in Gallatin. The attendant would be hired locally and the ambulance was to be tied in with a network of ambulance services headquartered at Bethany where a countywide service was being organized. Robert Eads was hired to care for the ambulance and respond to calls.
A new vote required 200 signatures, a district with a population of 2,000, and an assessed valuation of at least $2.5 million. Harrison and Jackson townships were added to the list, making seven townships.
In May 1972 the Eads Ambulance Service was discontinued. A new vote was taken and passed to have the new ambulance district. Another election was needed to elect a board to have the responsibility of deciding all questions.
The vote for the Community Ambulance District passed. The Board of Directors approved their estimated budget, and established a levy of 15 cents per $100 evaluation to operate the service. By late October, the district purchased a $11,500 package for just $3,500.
— researched by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin