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SFCAD staff provide additional service to community

Generally, when an ambulance is seen on the side of the highway, something bad has happened.

In the last week, however, motorists might have spotted an ambulance on the side of U.S. 67 in indication of something positive.

The members of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 3705 serve in the Farmington Fire Department and the St. Francois County Ambulance District, working every day to keep residents of the Parkland safe.

Union members from the ambulance district were out this week, cleaning up a mile stretch of U.S. 67 south of St. Francois State Park that was adopted last year in memory of local EMT Paul “Petie” Gilmer, who passed away in 2015 after battling cancer.

A graduate of North County High School, Gilmer was with the St. Francois County Ambulance District for 25 years. He served on the Desloge Fire Department for 13 years throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s. He also worked for the City of Desloge for a short time and at Farmington Walmart.

Union President Mark Mucci said the adoption of the stretch of highway was district members’ way of both remembering Gilmer and further serving the community.

“This was a way for us to honor Paul’s memory and to get out and give back to the community,” Mucci said. “That’s what we’re all about. We live in this community and we work in this community so it’s important for us to give back when we can.”

On Tuesday and the previous Wednesday, approximately 15 EMTs were working to clean up the stretch of highway — the southbound side on April 11 and the northbound side on April 17.

Mucci said the EMTs provided 50 to 60 man hours of service and collected 70 to 90 bags of trash in that time.

More than just a union effort, Mucci said the leadership of the St. Francois County Ambulance District was also very supportive, including Administrator David Tetrault.

“We’ve had great support from the ambulance district, including the administrator,” Mucci said. “He was out here with us as well, picking up trash.”

For more than a year, Local 3705 and the ambulance district had been unable to reach an agreement on an employee contract, leaving the employees of the district without job security or agreed upon pay.

Mucci said that an agreement had been reached last month, an important step in the relationship between district and union, which was visibly apparent in the cooperation in cleaning up the stretch of highway adopted in the name of the late district employee.

“Things are really moving in a positive direction, with us and our families being taken care of,” Mucci said. “Now we can really focus on doing some really meaningful work and continued service to the community.”

While cleaning up the adopted mile of U.S. 67 in memory of local EMT Paul Gilmer, employees of the St. Francois County Ambulance District collect between 70 and 90 bags of trash.

While cleaning up the adopted mile of U.S. 67 in memory of local EMT Paul Gilmer, employees of the St. Francois County Ambulance District collect between 70 and 90 bags of trash.

Employees of the St. Francois County Ambulance District pick up trash on the northbound side of U.S. 67 south of St. Francois State Park on Tuesday.

Employees of the St. Francois County Ambulance District pick up trash on the northbound side of U.S. 67 south of St. Francois State Park on Tuesday.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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