The Unexpected ………#184 (80’s)


.  It was brought to the community’s attention by Rex Zimmerman the editor of the Kiowa News,  publishing an article about an ongoing county investigation of the rumored misappropriation of funds by Kiowa’s Barber County Ambulance Service, mentioning the names of Bev and Lonnie Williams, the Williams directing the ambulance operation from their residence.  It was common knowledge the ambulance service was more or less a family endeavor, the two Williams, their son Monty, Bev’s sister Doris, her husband Ed Hermon, along with good family friend Billy Duval,  and the assistance of  the Kiowa Hospital nursing staff.  The article projecting a possibility the ambulance service might be removed from a Kiowa location, and all emergency service dispatched from  Medicine Lodge.   The Kiowa news publishing a notice about a public meeting at the Kiowa hospital to discuss a resolution.

.  The event finding Hospital Administrator Buck McKinney, a barber county representative, Lonnie, Bev, the ambulance personnel and several other concerned citizens in attendance, including Gary’s wife Jan.  The corollary was to cement the ambulances Kiowa location and if it would make a difference,  Lonnie and Bev’s offering to step down as ambulance  management.  Buck McKinney stating he was  willing to accept responsibility as Ambulance Director, and have the total ambulance operation managed and dispatched from the Hospital.  It was acknowledged that there would be a transition period, and the Barber County representative dictating the need for additional ambulance personnel.  The following week,  a notice was published in the Kiowa News soliciting persons interested in a EMS position, and enrollment in an accelerated EMT class,  also as an ambulance driver,  a very concerned Jan Willson enrolling in the EMT program.

.  Gary having thought’s,  but considering his 12 hours days for the school,  having no desire to inoculate himself into the world of emergency response,  then unexpectedly  answering a request to assist the evening EMT class as a responsive victim for instructional purpose.   Notwithstanding he was exposed to the modus operandi of  the ambulance service,  noting it normally operated with a three person crew on emergency runs,  a combination of two EMT’s or R N’s and a driver,  the on-call responders scheduled for a 12 hour shift with a five-minute response time.  Gary’s attendances assisting the class began to dwell  on his conscience,  discovering his school bus Defensive Driving course,   First Aid and Class B driver’s license fulfilled the prerequisites for an  ambulance driver.  The inevitable happened, he soon found his name on the monthly ambulance schedule as a driver, while Jan continued her  EMT training.  The new  driver  keeping abreast of his wife’s accelerated EMT class,  the one hundred fifty hour course  normally spanning upwards of 90 days,  depending on the instructor, the Kiowa class completing it in less than six weeks.  Upon its conclusion, the group journeying to the Kansas Emergency Medical Service Center in Wichita for their written and the five station practical tests.

.  Gary’s interest peaked knowing the intensity and dedication his wife exhibited to obtain her goal,  and shared Jan’s anxiety waiting for the notification letter from the K E M S.   The letter with the test results having arrived,  Jan and just one other of the seven applicants passing,  which they were told was not unusual.   Gary was aware the scheduling  and hours with the ambulance service were in conflict with his school hours and bus driving duty,  but with some unexpected assistance,  resolved both.  Glen Piper granting Gary permission to take call during his school hours on the condition he notify Judy Rocket if he had to leave.  The other conflict was  concerning his bus route, and resolved by hospital Director of Nursing Sharon Ragan,  who graciously offered to cover Gary’s ambulance calls when he was on his school bus route.  Gary wasn’t alone with his EMS schedule conflicting with his work day hours,  Jan employment at the bank sometimes finding her name on ambulance call for a day shift, but Marvin Ott the bank president making allowances for her also to take call.

.  It was a Saturday morning when the hand-held ambulance radio broke the silence, “Kiowa ambulance we have a call”.  the adrenaline kicked in,  it was Gary’s first run as a driver.  He was on call with Doris and Ed Hermon,  but what added to his concern was the weather, Kiowa was in the midst of an ice storm.  Gary pulling the ambulance out of the shed,  the roads covered with patches of slick black ice,  the conditions dictating a slow response,  the driver feeling handcuffed, red lights and siren at 35 mile per hour.  An arrival in Hardtner, entering the callers home,  a dimly lit, small two bedroom house, cluttered and reeking with the smell of a badly vented gas heater, directed to a bedroom.   Doris and Ed checking on the unresponsive elderly man,  immediately determining he had expired.  The wife insisting she wanted him. removed from the house right now.   Doris calmly explaining they were not authorize to transport him, but would place a call,  and in all probability have to wait until the coroner arrived before notifying the funeral home for transport.  Gary finding the wife’s non grievous deportment somewhat puzzling,  but it wasn’t for him to judge.

.  The Bank of Kiowa was under siege,  the Compliant Examiners with the FDIC having explored the regions of documents for two weeks,  then  an unexpected pronouncement,  Roger Noble the loan officer bewildering bank management,  and the Kiowa  community with his resignation.  The sudden departure of Roger was more of a concerned than just his position as loan officer, the Noble family also being responsible for the custodial care of the bank,  Roger, his wife Pat and son Stuart in the undertaking.  Marvin Ott the Bank’s president was acquainted with Gary and Jan’s custodial responsibility at the Apostolic Christian Church,  inquiring if they would be interested in replacing the Noble’s family application as the banks custodians.   The couple accepting the offer and were pleasantly surprised at the wages for the service,  Gary noting that Roger Noble and his family were paid well,  500 dollars per month for their service.

.  The couple immediately organized a duty schedule,  with Jan’s employment as a teller, after closing hours she would remain with cleaning duties in the lobby, employees area, restroom and breakroom.  Gary would return at night,  disabling the alarm system entering,   vacuum the carpets, mop the restroom,  check for additional trash in the offices left by late afternoon workers and ensuring the glass doors and drive thru window were spotless.   the work endeavor included the outer appearance of the yard and the maintenance of the water softener and H-Vac system.

.  The inevitable happened,  the Bank Examiners returning once again in search of documented amiss.  Gary curiosity aroused, was aware of the office used by the examiner’s and their leaving discarded  non-shredded notes, some with a mention of irregularities and a name,  but nothing conclusive.   On July 17th, 1986, the Bank of Kiowa was permanently closed,  the published explanation being it no longer meant FDIC requirements,  Marvin Ott accepting full responsibility for it’s demise.   Roger Noble having applied and accepting a position as Vocal Music Director at USD 2 fifty five,  Kiowa’s Middle and High School,  his name no longer a banking presence but still a pillar in the community.   The banks closing was a loss for the Kiowa community and the employees,  but also a loss for the Willson’s with Jan’s employment as a teller and the recently added custodial care income.

.  Jan’s EMT status having initiating a never before compassion,  a new-found interest in healthcare and community service.   With the loss of her bank employment she approached Director of Nursing, Sharon Ragan at the hospital,  being hired as a nurse aid,  continuing to expressed her desire to further her education and pursue a nursing degree.   Gary was in total agreement with his wife’s healthcare ambition,  but realized the difficulties they would have to overcome within the family, recalling what Jan’s mother had said in the past when told of her aspirations of college and getting a nursing degree,   “Why would you want to do that, you have a good job at the bank.”


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