For the past 34 years, Monmouth Rescue has provided emergency medical care and transport services to Monmouth residents. Founded and staffed for many years by volunteers and now operated with paid EMTs and paramedics, it also provided service to Wales and had mutual aid agreements with surrounding communities.

On Jan. 13, Monmouth Rescue will close its doors, and Winthrop Ambulance Service will become the only EMS provider between Augusta and Lewiston. Winthrop Ambulance Service will be delivering emergency medical service to Monmouth, Wayne, Fayette, Readfield, Mount Vernon, Manchester and Winthrop.

In November, Monmouth Rescue officers, concerned that their membership could not fill the monthly duty schedule, decided that they must notify Monmouth selectmen that they could no longer adequately provide EMS for the town. They had struggled with this problem for most of 2013, but in November it became critical.

As a solution, Monmouth Rescue officers thought that by making Monmouth Rescue a municipal department and by providing a payroll that was competitive with other EMS providers, they would be able to fill the duty schedule and keep the service operating for the remainder of this fiscal year at no additional cost to the town.

I am one of two selectmen who believe that a decision of this importance needs to be made by Monmouth townspeople. We believe that because Monmouth Rescue has served the town so well for so long, it deserves the opportunity to continue service for at least the next six months to determine if becoming a municipal department can make a viable difference in its ability to cover the duty schedule. We also believe that Monmouth Rescue plays a vital role in providing EMS to this area of central Maine.

Douglas LudewigMonmouth selectman