Re-printed with permission from Vanmeer Free Press
Photo: Don Young
By Caroline Fenelius-Carpenter
In 1978 a young Don Young joined the Fenelon Ambulance services and opened the door to an ever changing, ever challenging career.
When Don started, Fenelon Ambulance was owned by Bruce Wood. They had 3 full time paramedics, Bruce, Charlie Pearn and Rick Wilkins and 2 part time, Pug Allen and Don. They worked on site 8-4 if they were called out in the night and they had a shift the next day they still had to complete their shift. Their home base was first on Bond Street in Fenelon Falls and then when it was sold to the owner of Beaverton Ambulance Services it moved to Peace Valley and now has found its home on Wychwood Crescent.
The Original Fenelon Ambulance service
Training at the time was held at Canadian Forces Base Borden. It was called the Fundamentals of Casualty Care, consisted of one month Monday to Friday of anatomy and physiology, advanced first aid, splinting for fractures, and light rescue techniques. They were trained in the Holger Nielson method of respiration and the Revised Silvester. These were the days before CPR.
1978 Dodge van used for the ambulance service
They did all their own rescues. Pug remembers the weekends in Fenelon Falls being like the wild west drinking and driving was common place as was driving in cars without seat belts. Many times they were first on scene for a labour that came too quickly or was unexpected there were a number of Fenelon Falls babies born in the arms of the capable ambulance attendants. A stretcher attached to water skis was created to transport those injured on the snowmobile trail or at the cottage which only had access by sled in the winter. They had to be quick on their feet and quick with a solution to many different situations that could not be taught in a classroom. They needed to trust their partner explicitly
Don’s quiet calm manner his smile was a welcome sight in a chaotic situation. Even when it meant answering a call dealing with family or friends. He spoke you listened, he told you exactly what to do and you did it confidently because you knew Don would never steer you wrong. He was always soft spoken and anyone who was in his care knew instantly they were in good hands. Servicing an area where he was born and grew up, where he knew most of the people whom he was called upon to help must have had its challenges but you never saw that with Don. It did not matter what the situation who was involved his demeanor never changed.
On Sunday April 2nd Don will close the doors of an ambulance for the last time. The community of Fenelon Falls is thankful to have had Don as part of the Ambulance services for 39 years.
We hope you enjoy your retirement.