Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, employees EMT Gillian Erwin (left) and Paramedic Charles Rock (right) go over one of the new Lifepak 15 heart monitors company owners purchased and unveiled during the company’s drive-in and virtual Christmas party recently. (Photos submitted)
Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, employees EMT Gillian Erwin (left) and Paramedic Charles Rock (right) go over one of the new Lifepak 15 heart monitors company owners purchased and unveiled during the company’s drive-in and virtual Christmas party recently. (Photos submitted)

OHIO – The owners of Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, didn’t let COVID-19 dampen the spirits of the company’s annual Christmas party recently. In fact, they took the party to new heights.

As employees and their families gathered virtually and in their own cars for a drive-in style Christmas party, owners Brian K. Hathaway and Aaron Guthrie made a phone call to Santa himself and asked if he could fly to the Christmas party. Within minutes of saying he would, spectators at the drive-in event watched the sky as Santa came in for a landing on the racetrack of the Darke County Fairgrounds aboard a helicopter exclaiming, “Merry Christmas everyone…Merry Christmas.”

“What will these guys do next?” asked one employee who was in awe over Santa arriving in a helicopter.

“Just wait and see what the evening has in store,” replied Hathaway, who reports every employee and guest attending, whether virtually or at the drive-in, was served a home-cooked meal prepared by his wife and daughter, Audrey and Naomi Hathaway. Virtual attendees were personally delivered the home-cooked meal, wrapped packages for their kids, gift cards, and awards they were to receive by Santa’s elves, the management team of Spirit Medical Transport.

The evening started out with a moment of silence in remembrance of one of their former employees, Jack Rader, who died earlier this year. Rader’s name and photo has been added to the back of the Spirit memorial ambulance, which bears the names of three other former Spirit employees and supporter from years past.

It was then that Hathaway and Guthrie began reflecting on the past year and its many ups and downs, given shutdowns, and then an increasing number of people who have been affected by the virus. Despite a drastic reduction in calls for the year overall, the company was able to maintain its employee base and avoid layoffs. The owners applauded their employees and the families who supported one another during the challenging year.

“Our employees and their families have remained strong, and we want to show our investment in each of you for the dedication you have shown,” Guthrie explained. “Our employees are the backbone of our business, and we want to equip you with the Best of the Best anytime we can.”

Hathaway echoed Guthrie’s comments, saying the financial partnership the company has with Greenville Federal continues to grow, which enabled them to make more purchases in 2020 that will benefit not only the employees, but the patients and various organizations the company serves throughout western Ohio and eastern portions of Indiana.

As employees stood with their families in front of their cars and others watched live from the comfort of their own homes, Hathaway and Guthrie began what has become the yearly Christmas reveal.

Hathaway explained two of the Christmas presents this year came a few months early, when two small passenger buses were delivered in September that are used primarily to transport local students to/from classes for various county school districts.

When it was all said and done though, those attending saw the reveal of one new 2020 Dodge caravan; three new 2020 Dodge wheelchair vans; four fully stocked 2020 Ford Transit Medix ambulances; two fully stocked 2021 Ford E-350 Medix box ambulances; four new Ferno Power X1 cots; one Ferno iNX power load stretcher with the new bariatric component capable of lifting patients up to 1,100 pounds; 10 brand new Lifepak 15 cardiac monitors with various specialized components; six brand new Toughbook computers; and one Hercules 6000 automatic car wash.

“Over the past three years as a company we have made a significant investment into having one of the best fleet of vehicles on the road,” Hathaway explained. “To save our employees precious time from having to hand wash their new vehicles at the end of their shift, they will now be able to have it washed from top to bottom in a matter of minutes, thanks to the new automatic wash system we have purchased.”

The owners also expressed the gratitude they have of the facilities they serve, and announced they have 78 facilities on a waiting list wanting the services Spirit offers, but simply don’t have the personnel to meet the growing demand.

“We aren’t going to over promise and under deliver to the facilities and patients we’ve already committed to,” Hathaway explained. “As owners, we are as committed to you as you are to us…so one final gift we have to offer going into 2021…not only are we looking at an across the board benefits restructure that will be financially intuitive to each of you as employees, we will also continue awarding our monthly raises of five-cents per hour to full time employees who report to work when scheduled, on time, and have no disciplinary issues. So, just for coming to work and doing a great job, you’ll be making 60 more cents on the hour come next January just for coming to work on time and providing great service to our patients and customers.” Again, a great big applause was given.

“Merry Christmas to each of you and your families,” Guthrie concluded. “This has been an amazing year, and we couldn’t have done it without all of you. Let’s now go out and celebrate another great year of success.”

The evening concluded with a toast of sparkling grape juice boasting for a prosperous 2021.

Only five company employees, two of which are Hathaway’s parents, knew about this past weekend’s big surprise. Hathaway said he and the other five spent countless hours stocking each of the six ambulances and four vans to make sure they were road ready to begin serving those in the geographical area Spirit covers.

The company would like to thank the following companies and individuals for all of their support in making the Christmas surprise possible:

Penn Care – Mike Bowman, Tyler Keeley, and Tara Savon

Freedom Motors- Kevin Barnes

Greenville Federal – Nick Good, Tina Jones, Jeff Knise, and Members of the Bank Board

Ferno – Bill Chrisovergis

Stryker – Pete Landry and Alan Waters

Ohio Signs – Brian Reeser

Ohio Department of Public Safety, Inspector – Adam Blake, Medical Transportation Director – David Fiffick

A-OK Fire Protection-Tyler Edwards

Peck Sound Systems – Greg Peck

Henry Schein EMS – Scott Bruner

Four-U-Office Supply – Taylor Uhlenhake

Bruner Advertising – Rick Bruner

Hercules Systems, Inc. - Robert Mann

JP Mohler, LLC – Justin Mohler and Kalen Swan

Agri Air – Charles Zimmer for piloting Santa to the party

Santa’s Helper – Gary Moore

Assured Partners – Sharon Holland

Tim Clopp Photography

The Darke County Agricultural Society for the use of the buildings to hide all ten vehicles

Cynthia Bruner

Darleen Wilcox

Aaron Guthrie

Brian K. Hathaway

Ault, Henderson & Lewis - Dave Snider

John & Deb Hathaway

Audrey & Naomi Hathaway

Carol Hathaway

Steve Garrison

Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, employs over 100 people and serves western Ohio and eastern Indiana with stations in Greenville, Celina, Van Wert, Sidney, and Liberty, Indiana.