Iowa paramedic joins 2020 Census ad campaign

In the ad, Paramedic Jerry Kelley explains the funding problems faced by rural ambulance services and how the census can help


By Laura French

WOODBURY COUNTY, Iowa — A recent advertisement for the 2020 U.S. Census features an Iowa paramedic explaining how census participation can help fund rural ambulance services.

Woodbury County Paramedic Jerry Kelley was at one time the only full-time paramedic serving rural areas outside of the Sioux City metro area. In the ad, Kelley describes the funding and staffing problems faced by ambulance services in these areas.

“If we had more funding towards those areas, maybe we could pay for their education and their training, and to help get more people to volunteer for these jobs,” Kelley says. “If you don’t fill out your census, then you’re not counted, and if you’re not counted, then the funds are dwindled from that area.”

Woodbury County EMS was forced to ramp up its services to rural areas after Siouxland Paramedics in Sioux City ceased operations two years ago, according to the Sioux City Journal. Kelley told the Journal that his team responds to about 1,300 calls per year.

Kelley was the only full-time paramedic to serve rural communities in the area for several months before two other paramedics – Myles McCrea and Ronald Freemont – were added to the team.

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