This is a history that was sent by Billy G. Rogers when he found it as he was going through the family papers. The rest of the story is the update of the Mora ambulance since that time in our history.
Not many people know this but the first ambulance service to Mora Valley was created in March 1973. The Rogers Brothers, Leroy C. and Alfred E. Jr. and Billy G. Rogers, owners of the Gonzales Funeral Home in Las Vegas, donated the ambulance service to the citizens of Mora Valley.
According to Billy Rogers, the ambulance service operation for all of San Miguel and Mora counties was dispatched out of Las Vegas. The response time was a big factor. A person who suffered a heart attack, for example, might not have survived given that the ambulance was being dispatched from Las Vegas to Mora and had to return the patient to Las Vegas for medical treatment. They realized there was a tremendous need to have ambulance service in Mora.
The ambulance service was then donated by the Rogers brothers through the supervision and guidance of Dr. Calvin Wallis of the Mora Valley Medical Unit stationed in Cleveland. The clinic was operated by Presbyterian Medical Services out of Santa Fe. The vehicle was equipped with oxygen, long and short spine boards, inflatable and wooden splints, a suction apparatus, a complete first aid kit, an auxiliary stretcher and an ambulance cot to accommodate two stretcher patients. It also had emergency lights, siren and communication equipment required by ambulance regulations at that time.
The ambulance was housed at the Mora Valley Clinic in Cleveland and was available on a 24-hour per day basis.
Three residents of Mora — Luke and Eleanor Gauna and Sam Lovato underwent an intensive training program at the state police academy in Santa Fe in order to operate the ambulance.
The specialized course was designed by the American College of Surgeons and administered by the Regional Medical Program of the University of New Mexico, which catered to the special needs of ambulance and rescue personnel. The three earned a diploma of Emergency Medical Technicians.
An additional session following the training program in Santa Fe was held at the clinic.
Members of the Rogers family were there to demonstrate the proper use and placement of all of the items on the ambulance. Luis Casados joined the Emergency Medical team at a later date.
The ambulance was then taken to the Holman Elementary School and Mora High School to make the children throughout Mora County aware of the service.
New Mexico State policemen Fred Caldwell and John Cordova, both stationed in Las Vegas demonstrated to the students what to do and not to do when around an ambulance and how to be helpful to the ambulance technicians at the scene of an accident.
Prayers of dedication and benediction for the new ambulance and its service to the citizens of Mora County were offered by Father Leonard L. Bayer, pastor of St.Gertrude’s Catholic Church and by the Rev. Enrique Herrera of the United Presbyterian Church of the Sacred Yoke in Mora. Martha Romero, member of the advisory board of the Mora Valley Medical Clinic and Flosha Sanchez, president of the Mora High Student Council, were in charge of the school programs.
The vehicle was christened “Consuelo de Valle” (Consolation of the Valley) with a bottle of antiseptic by Jennie Martinez, president of the Future Nurses Club and Barbara Kugler, school nurse.
Regarding the ambulance service a Rogers family spokesman stated, ”we are well aware of the inconvenience of not having an ambulance service stationed somewhere in Mora County. We are quite concerned with the future health needs and the efficient delivery of health care to people in the outlying areas. We had promised the residents of Mora County an ambulance service if we had the residents willing to get the proper training. Now that the training needs have been completed we feel quite proud of the new service and the response the citizens in Mora County have given us. Perhaps many lives can be saved by having someone close by.”
There is still ambulance service in the Mora area. The Mora Valley Community Health Service took over the service in April 1973.
Louis Casados was in charge at that time. The first people who went to training to become licensed EMT were Luke and Eleanor Gauna and Sam Lovato.
Many people followed them in the many years that the ambulance has been in service.
Emma Casados who retired in 2008 served for 26 years.
At the present time there are three licensed EMTs, two drivers, two first responders and two men assistants.
Brenda Casados, who has worked for the ambulance for 19 years, is the director stationed at the Mora Valley Community Health Services facility. Some of the ambulance workers who are still working have served a long time.
Clara Maes has served for 25 years and Michell Duran has served for 21. Other persons who work on the ambulance are Chris Kelly, Justin Garcia, Andréa Trujillo, Louis Pando and Tomas Sanchez.
The ambulance organization does community work as well. One example is the distribution of Christmas gifts to the elderly in the community. Some of the trained workers also serve in fire departments in the community as they do have the training in case of need of first aid.
The ambulance has served this community for a long time and we trust that funds will come through to continue this fine service that the Mora area is so fortunate to have.
Ruth Fort is a Mora County correspondent. She may be reached at (575) 387-6523 or email@example.com.