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On July 14th, the Northern Edgar County Ambulance Service or NECAS was officially under new ownership when ambulance coordinator Jeremy Neal took over the business. Now, Neal EMS, the ambulance service will continue to cover Young America, Shiloh, Prairie, Brouilletts Creek, Ross and Edgar Townships in Edgar County.
Neal began working for the ambulance service in 2006, while working at his family business Neal Machinery in Paris.
“I actually started the first responder class to help with my work,” Neal said. Even though he owns the ambulance service, Neal continues to work full time at the Neal Machinery.
While working at the family business, Neal continued to further pursue his paramedic license. After obtaining an EMT-intermediate license, he was asked to become the coordinator. As a coordinator, he obtained his paramedic license.
Being a volunteer service, the Norther Edgar County Ambulance Service fell on hard times. Volunteers either began to fall, leaving those who were fully committed in a bind. The reserves that the ambulance service had in place started dissolving and Chrisman ran the chance of losing it’s ambulance service.
The NECAS board had reached a point where they did not want to continue providing a service here. “You’re going to add twenty minutes to getting any help,” Neal said. “I didn’t think that was a good idea.”
Neal had never pictured himself owning the service, but knew that it would be the best thing for Chrisman and the surrounding areas.
“Basically, the entire time I was coordinator, my intent was to be able to fund this thing so we could have staff.”
The last two years, Neal was in talks about how the funding would come about. When the board made the final decision, he placed his bid to buy. Moving forward as Neal EMS, Jeremy would like to increase his staff, who are now able to receive a paycheck.
Currently, Neal and David Craig are the only two licensed paramedics on staff. The remaining staff consists of Pansy Kennedy, Tommy Elliott, Vicki Johnson, Robert Plog and Sue Lawlyes.
“Basically nothing has changed,” Neal said. “The same people who were working for Northern Edgar County are working for me. Same equipment, same vehicles and same location. The only thing that changed is that we can pay our staff now, which we couldn’t do before.”