Carol J. Ortman

Ashland, WI

EDITOR:I am writing in regards to the letter from Tony Huber, chief of Mellen Fire and Rescue, which was printed in the Jan. 26  edition of the Ashland Daily Press. In it, Huber clarified some falsehoods regarding towns in our county that have been left without ambulance service. Apparently, the towns of Ashland, Morse and Marengo cancelled their contracts some time ago with Mellen’s ambulance service, instead opting for a privately funded ambulance service, which, it seems has not panned out for these towns, leaving them without ambulance service. At the time they opted out of ambulance service provided by Mellen, they were told that it would be difficult for Mellen to offer them service again if the privately funded ambulance service didn’t work out. Apparently, it didn’t work out and now the township of Marengo is without local ambulance service. Apparently, the townships of Ashland and Morse were offered a contract to receive ambulance services by Mellen but Marengo was not offered a similar contract due to a shortage of personnel in the Mellen Fire and Rescue in which Mellen feels that it is not feasible or responsible to offer service to Marengo.

What I find particularly troubling in this situation is that the Marengo chairman, Mr. Walston, is spreading falsehoods about how his town has ended up in this position. I also find it concerning that the Daily Press coverage of this issue did not contact the Mellen Fire and Rescue Department to see if Walston’s statements were true, which, apparently, they are not.

On top of this, Walston stated that Mellen is providing inadequate service in that it is “dropping calls (for ambulance service) weekly.” For Walston to promulgate falsehoods is serious. The responsibility of a town chairman is to provide leadership and to find answers to problems that are in the best interest of the people he has been elected to serve. Certainly, spreading falsehoods about local lifesaving services casts doubt upon his effectiveness as an adequate leader.

Walston has a serious problem on his hands; he needs ambulance service for the 400 people in his community. I would encourage him to spend his time trying to solve this problem in a constructive way rather than spreading falsehoods about the agency that could help him solve this problem. It seems that if Walston would encourage volunteers from his community to assist Mellen Fire and Rescue they might be able to receive the services that they once had. It is always better when small communities work together and share resources, both paid and volunteer, than to cast aspersions because of a poor choice that was made years ago. I am hoping that Walston tries to collaborate with local leadership to solve this problem. Four hundred people in his community will be watching.

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