Township votes to disband Ambulance

COVINGTON CREW–Members of the Covington Township Ambulance pictured above included, l-r, Marvin Rajala, Daune Smith, Carole Rajala, Carol Holma, Shirley Younggren, David Besonen and Linda Rajala. Members of the new Covington Township First Responders include the Rajalas, Besonen, Younggren, Holma and Emmy Heikkila. Photo courtesy of Joanne Besonen.

by Nancy Besonen
The Covington Township Ambulance service has officially disbanded. At its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 the Covington Township Board voted 4-1 to end the service effective March 1. The township has contracted with Bay Ambulance of Baraga to provide future emergency response services. The decision was made due to a small and aging ambulance crew. The staff of eight volunteers was required by law to provide around-the-clock ambulance services, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. With runs on the increase, the crew saw the day coming when it couldn’t keep up. “We have eight members, average age 60, which does not bode well,” volunteer Marvin Rajala said at a public meeting in January regarding the future of the service. “We’ve seen a steady increase in runs, maybe a reflection both our ambulance and people are getting older.” David Besonen of Covington has been a member of the ambulance crew from its start. He said a fatal accident on M-28 in Covington, in which two area children were killed and another seriously injured, highlighted the need for a local emergency response team. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.