Grand Forks Herald
PARK RIVER, N.D. — Park River Ambulance President Daniel Young pushes boundaries to ensure emergency health services are available not only in his hometown, but across Walsh County.
Besides supervising the day-to-day operations of the city’s volunteer ambulance service and overseeing training of its members, Young, a 30-year veteran of the Park River squad, schedules classes and trains first-responders in neighboring Walsh County towns Edinburg, Lankin, Adams, Hoople and Fordville. Young’s outreach also includes teaching CPR to Park River Area Schools students.
In late 2020, the North Dakota Emergency Medical Services Association recognized Young for his service, awarding him the NDEMS Provider of the Year award during a Park River Ambulance Service squad meeting. The award is given each year to a member of the North Dakota EMS Association who has devoted a tremendous amount of personal time to the local and state provision, developed and improved prehospital care and educated his or her community.
“There have been so many things that Dan has been willing to do that have gone unrecognized,” said Greg Martinson, a northeast North Dakota NDEMSA director. Young goes above and beyond what is required as a volunteer to ensure Walsh County residents receive emergency medical services, Martinson said.
“Dan should have had this award 10 years ago. There are a ton of hours that go into the work he does. He doesn’t get paid for this work; it is not his full-time job. He continues to do the volunteer work just because he enjoys it,” Martinson said.
Young, a squad paramedic who works full-time as a respiratory therapist and purchasing director at First Care Health Center, joined the ambulance service in 1991 after being coaxed by friends who were members.
He first was an emergency medical technician, then trained to become an EMT-Intermediate, the next step up from EMT, before becoming a paramedic in 1997. In 2006, Park River Ambulance Service members voted Young president, a position he has held since.
Teaching classes and training sessions aren’t part of Young’s official duties as president — squads typically have training officers who do that — but it’s a job he takes on because he has the educational background to do it.
Young leads by example, said Darryl Hell, a longtime local ambulance squad member.
“Everything he does is hands-on. He’s always there for us,” Hell said. “I credit what the ambulance service is to Dan. You couldn’t ask for a better teacher and great friend.”
Young never questions himself about whether all the work is worth it, but does understand why other members of the community might not be willing to make that kind of time commitment. Members of the squad not only spend a lot of hours in training, but also sign up for weekday and weekend shifts. Finding people willing to do that has become increasingly difficult, Young said.
“We’re doing an EMT class now, and we have only four people,” he said. Young works to recruit ambulance service members through word-of-mouth, advertising and by teaching CPR classes to students at Park River Area Schools, he said.
The award Young received from NDEMA is a reflection of the dedication of Park River Ambulance Service’s members and its supporters, Young said.
“I couldn’t have done it without the squad members, their families and their support, without the commitment of the hospital allowing me to do it, without law enforcement who are first-responders,” he said.
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