AmeriCorps member improves impact of rural ambulance program


According to a 2014 Des Moines Register article on Iowa’s rural Emergency Management Service system, nationally, at least three rural ambulance services close their doors each month. In Iowa, many rural areas remain underserved and time, training, and cost requirements make it hard to recruit volunteers.Jacob Buster, a recent graduate from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, wanted to address this issue in his community. Through his three terms with the Iowa College AmeriCorps Program, he created the Cornell College Emergency Medical Service (CCEMS) which assists the community volunteer run Mount Vernon ambulance service by connecting them to trained volunteers from the Cornell campus community.
“I’m thrilled that I can get something going for the community, and especially the Cornell community,” he said.For his service, this year Jacob selected as the Iowa College AmeriCorps Program (ICAP) Member of the Year. This award honors students for their efforts to build capacity in an organization in their community. With nominations from across the state, this year’s review process was very competitive. ICAP members all serve 300-450 hours recruiting students to volunteer from their campuses and building capacity in nonprofit organizations. Jacob did both in a way that stood out and created a new program that will continue to support the Mount Vernon community for years.The results of this program enhancement were felt immediately on Cornell’s campus and in the community.“The CCEMS is most successful and far-reaching AmeriCorps partnership this year,” said Katie Wilson, Director of Civic Engagement at Cornell College.Jules Scadden, Executive Director of the Lisbon-Mount Vernon Ambulance service agreed that the program has made and will continue to make a significant impact, “CCEMS enhances our ability to provide coverage on the ambulance, as [AmeriCorps] volunteers also cover a number of hours on call with the ambulance each month. The establishment of the Cornell College EMS Squad has enhanced the ability to provide rapid medical care to the Cornell campus and our local community.”