On Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018, we hosted our annual dinner party at Paradise Bowl and Pizza. Over dinner, several topics were discussed, door prizes were given out, 2017 awards were presented, and guest speaker Eric Shaugnessy spoke about the new Illiana EMS. Illiana EMS became the primary ambulance service for Vermillion County beginning January 1, 2018, however Shaugnessy has operated his own EMS business since June 2009 in Edgar County. He started out as an EMT at just 18 years old. Currently there is a tremendous shortage of paramedics nationwide. Illiana EMS currently provides classes for into EMTs and Advanced EMTs, and they are working on offering paramedic classes as well. Currently there is at least one paramedic present on every run Illiana EMS takes. Illiana EMS has 42 employees in Vermillion County so far. They are accepting new applications and have positions pending as well. When describing the ambulance service, Shaugnessy says they are similar to an extension of the emergency room. They transport the patients to the hospital in the case of an emergency, and can even provide certain medications in a timely manner if the condition is serious. Right now, the national rural average for an ambulance response time is 13 minutes. Illiana EMS is proud to say their average right now is 9 minutes and 42 seconds. They are constantly working to safely improve that time. In 2017, the local ambulance service averaged 125 calls a month. So far in 2018, the new service has received 160 (911 calls) in 23 days. 84% of the patients are taken to Union Hospital Clinton. The other 16% are taken to other locations based on requests.
The Business of the Year award was presented to Valley Professionals Community Health Center. February 1st, 2018 will be their 10 year anniversary since opening their doors. The initial location has now expanded and Valley Professionals offers 6 different clinic locations along with mobile health buses in the community. They currently have over 150 employees.
The Board Member of the Year award was presented to Treasurer Jessi Purcell. Jessi has been an asset to the Chamber of Commerce board for over 10 years and she is constantly providing new thoughts and ideas and setting them in motion. Jessi is a great asset to the chamber of commerce and the community.