In early spring of last year, Wallowa County Ambulance and Air Life of Oregon began co-marketing ground and air ambulance memberships. The program has received a very positive response from area residents. Its success is due in part to the unique benefits of the combination membership, the ground swell of community support, and the efforts of citizen volunteers.

Being nonprofit, the program relies heavily on volunteers. Serving in their own communities, volunteers work to promote Wallowa County Ambulance/Air Life and the Wallowa Air Life memberships and educate their fellow residents.

In light of a shortage of volunteers, Wallowa County Ambulance/Air Life and the Wallowa Air Life Volunteer Team area asking for help.

Wallowa County Ambulance/Air Life volunteers are responsible for staffing booths at a variety of community events, distributing literature, and answering questions. They also maintain the supply of brochures at different locations in town. On average, a volunteer commits between two and five hours a month to the cause.

Sonja Ritz of Joseph has volunteered since July. Ritz said her work with Air Life is particularly fulfilling. "I just feel that the memberships are so important," she said. "People not only need to have the opportunity to know about the financial benefits, but also that there is a big difference between the various air ambulance services and programs that are available in this area."

Volunteers receive free orientation and training. After six months of service, volunteers receive a free Air Life shirt. After a year of service, they get a complimentary Air Life membership. will certainly make the difference."

Barns would welcome the opportunity to explain the program to new recruits. Those interested in participating should contact him at (541)663-8657 or leave a message at (800)353-0497. He will send a volunteer packet and make contact by phone to anyone who inquires about becoming a volunteer.

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