Milford Ambulance Service moves into new space

MILFORD – In 1973, Jim Heald and about two dozen others started Milford’s first round-the-clock ambulance service using a hearse belonging to Heald’s Funeral Home.

Sometimes, the long black vehicle would take a patient to the hospital, and sometimes it would be used for a slower, more solemn transport.

“We’d change back and forth,” Heald said.

Then the state adopted new laws that made it impractical for funeral parlors to do double duty, and the town took over ambulance responsibilities.

And until last week, the Milford Ambulance Service was still in the small two-bay space where it started 40 years ago in the lower floor of Town Hall, a facility that became increasingly inadequate over the years.

Last Saturday, Dec. 7, at the open house for the town’s new facility on Elm Street, Heald said he never could have imagined the new modern building.

But he and Fletcher Seagroves, another one of the Milford Ambulance Service’s founding members who cut the official ribbon during the open house, agreed “it was something that had to be done.”

“It was too small,” Seagroves said, remembering the old Town Hall space, so small that sometimes they would lose an ambulance mirror when trying to maneuver into the space.

It’s been a long time since the men had worked out of Town Hall, but current Milford EMT Justin Doty, had to deal with it up until last week when it moved.

Doty is thrilled with the roomy new facility, which has features the service needed for a long time: a community/training room, dorm rooms, a break room with kitchen facilities and a separate washer and dryer for clothing exposed to hazardous materials.

“I love it. I absolutely love it,” Doty said about the building. “It’s such an upgrade. We finally have someplace we can call home.”

One of the major reasons a new facility was required was to have space for new modern ambulances, and Milford’s two new vehicles were on display Saturday.

They replace two that were 10 and 14 years old, and the new ones are designed so that crews can work with minimal or no movement, making travel safer for them.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, Ambulance Director Eric Schelberg thanked Milford townspeople and the volunteers who worked for years to make the building a reality.

He also noted that it is constructed to be an “essential building,” a place of shelter during a natural or man-made disaster to be “the last building standing.”