Humble Heroes second edition

Scott Reinbolt

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One of the prime motivators for writing this book was to tell the untold story of so many funeral directors who provided ambulance service to their communities and not only didn't receive a "thanks", but often received a kick in the teeth for their efforts. I wanted those old timers to know that someone recognized their contribution, especially when I realized more and more of those folks are leaving us as the years pass. I've also been absolutely shocked that so many of those currently serving in the funeral industry have absolutely no knowledge of this important service, even though it was a major part of the funeral business in the not so distant past.

It also seemed like history had been re-written with funeral home ambulance services painted as villains. My experience showed that many in the industry actually seemed ashamed of this part of industry history.

For those of you who are retired or active in the funeral trade, I thought I would pass this along: in the spring I contacted "The American Funeral Director" magazine and asked them to quote me some rates for advertising. They replied that a product like mine was not appropriate for advertising in their publication. I also contacted the NFDA and asked if they would review the book for their membership. They had me mail them a copy, but I never heard back from them. Just makes you wonder: are those organizations ashamed that funeral homes ran (and run) ambulances? If so, that's a real shame.

That's all I have to say about that. Just needed to get it off my chest!
 

Scott Reinbolt

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An unsolicited review of "Humble Heroes" by a former ambulance service owner:

By Eric R. Voth, retired Chairman, P&S Ambulance Service

HUMBLE HEROES, The History of Funeral Home Operated Ambulance Service, SECOND EDITION, by Scott Reinbolt © 2020, is a comprhensive, thoroughly researched, objective, and honest look at privately operated ambulance service in the United States.

In fact it sets the record straight about these businesses which were often unprofitable, and sometimes scorned or criticized by local political subdivisions. And many of these same political subdivisions showed no interest in helping subsidize their local providers when collection ratios for “street calls” (i.e. accidents; shootings; stabbings; fights; removal of dead bodies, etc.) was in the 50%, or less, range.

Author Scott Reinbolt offers a detailed inside look at ambulance service in several cities. He examines how and why communities came to rely upon funeral homes for medical transportation, and the motivation of funeral directors to continue to provide this vital, but mostly money-losing, service. Plus he discusses the reasons why -- over the years -- many funeral homes bowed out of providing ambulance service.

The book also covers the history of training for emergency medical personnel and changes in vehicle sizes, equipment carried (then and now). It explores the role of the Federal Government in recognizing a need for change and how and why local fire departments became involved in providing service.

It’s a good read for any current or former EMS “adrenaline junkie” interested in the topic!

Mr. Voth passed on Nov. 3, 2020. I'm glad I had the chance to meet him through "Humble Heroes". I thought it ironic. or somehow fitting, that his funeral was handled by Dunn-Quigley Funeral Home, which was a direct competitor to Mr. Voth's P&S ambulance service at one time. I also like to think that the book gave him some satisfaction and some validation of his role in a very difficult business.
 
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