By Randy Kirby
Mike Gardner has been named administrator of the Pettis County Ambulance District (PCAD), it was learned at a brief press conference held Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the Pettis County EMA headquarters.
Gardner previously served as administrator for the Warsaw-Lincoln Ambulance District for 10 years. He was the Pettis County Ambulance District Board’s choice out of four candidates for the position.
“I’m just happy to be here. It’s going to be a huge challenge, but I’m really looking forward to it,” said the soft-spoken Gardner when he was introduced.
“It’s going to be a wonderful ambulance district … I’m still kind of in shock,” he said of the board’s decision.
“We started out kind of small down there too,” Gardner said of his previous job. “We had a lot of issues that we had to address.”
His goal is to “provide the best emergency service you can possibly have, with the best people,” he added.
“Mike was a 7-0 decision,” noted Sedalia-Pettis County EMA Director Dave Clippert. “All four we interviewed were very good candidates. But Mike is the one who has done this before. Not many new ambulance districts are formed, so to find someone who has taken it from scratch and built it up was one of the key items, as least for me.”
Gardner officially begins his duties Jan. 1.
Gardner said he attended paramedic school via Penn Valley College in Kansas City. Upon graduation, he was hired as a paramedic/firefighter by the Claycomo Fire Department for several years, and was eventually promoted to deputy chief.
He later heard of a job opening in Warsaw through a friend who also happened to be the fire chief there were he worked at the time. He was later hired and has worked in Warsaw for the past 10 years. “Continuity is the key (to success),” Gardner said, adding that he only lost one board member in 10 year’s time.
The main duties now for Gardner is to take the newly-formed PCAD and move it into an operating district with a high level of care for patients, a board spokesman said.
“We’re pleased with his experience,” commented PCAD secretary Allan Rohrbach.
Voters approved the creation of the ambulance district on April 3, and elected representatives for each of the six divisions of the district on June 5.