Pendleton County Ambulance has new leadership

  • Jody Dunhoft
    Jody Dunhoft

    Jody Dunhoft, long-time Pendleton County paramedic, was recently appointed by the PC Ambulance Board as the new ambulance director. The role includes administrative work as well as shifts on the ambulance itself, both of which she confirms are her passions.
    Dunhoft has been associated with Pendleton County since she completed the paramedic program at the University of Cincinnati in 2002. Immediately following her certification, she began working with Transcare which at that time provided paramedic services to Pendleton County. She worked in that capacity until 2009 when Pendleton County became an Advanced Life Support service.
    “I was working the night of October 31, 2009, and at 11:59 p.m., I was a paramedic with Transcare. At 12:00 a.m. on November 1, 2009, I was a paramedic for Pendleton County Ambulance,” she remembers. “I think that is pretty neat.”
    She remained a paramedic until her role expanded on November 2, 2019, when she was appointed as the assistant director of the Pendleton County Ambulance Service.
    Dunhoft is quick to tell you that she feels more connected to Pendleton County than she does her resident Boone County. The reason is simply, she says, because she has worked here so long. She agrees that the county is smaller and people are more connected here, but she also feels more at home here because she is living out her passion to help people across the county; now, she wants to do more. She knows that doing more will be a little more difficult considering COVID-19, but she has a vision for herself and the ambulance service. Her top priority as director, she is clear, is that she wants to build relationships so that the county understands the value of the paramedics and their county-wide Advanced Life Support services. In order to do that, she knows that being a presence is involved. “I want us to show up at horse shows, football games, places people are.
    “I want us to be involved with the community, building working relationships with other places that hold things in common with our services,” she continues. “For example, we are right across the road from the health department, and we have other health resources in the community. I want to work with Stephanie Schlueter (the Community Health Strategist at Three Rivers Health Department) and others to serve the community more fully.”
    She also speaks of more education for the community, but she is encountering the same barriers as everyone else. “We  want to conduct CPR training, but right now with COVID-19, that is difficult to do. We were really excited to do the Senior Bash because we had supplies donated for about 200 first aid kits that we were going to distribute, and then that had to be canceled.”
    This is frustrating for a number of reasons. “We want people to know how resourceful we are. We are a resource.”
    Community perceptions of the ambulance services vary widely. Some believe the ambulance is for the most critical situations only. Dunhoft does  not limit their services in that way, and she is glad many across the county see the ambulance service in broader terms, as well.
    “Sometimes, we get called in to evaluate an injury for a parent who is asking if a child needs to go to the hospital or not. Sometimes we have to convince an elderly person to go to the hospital. We do so many things that people aren’t aware that we do.
    “One thing we know: if someone is calling 911, that has to be a really bad time in that person’s life.”
    While COVID and other obstacles may be in her way for the moment, Dunhoft has positive goals as the service moves forward.
    “I want to bring training to the public, and I want to keep building our relationships with Northern Pendleton County Ambulance Service in providing mutual aid and with the community, as well.”