Tom Prime began his career in EMS with Ray’s Ambulance in 1971. In 1973, Tom was working for Crescent Ambulance. The staff and management at Crescent Ambulance wanted to increase their level of training to provide better service to their patients, so nineteen staff, with the assistance of local doctor’s and nurses, took the National Registry training. Tom was one of the twenty-two people nationally who received initial training through the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician Program.
Tom and Bonnie Prime purchased territory as well as assets from Brian Erickson of Shamrock Ambulance. The Prime’s named their new service ‘Midway Ambulance Care’, so named due to the location of the town: two hours from Regina, two hours from Saskatoon and one and a half hours from Yorkton.
On January 1st, 1978, Midway Ambulance Care was open for business with just a small office, which held a desk and a radio for dispatching in the home that the couple was renting. Along with that office, the company was comprised of one ambulance and Tom was the one medically trained employee, while his wife Bonnie took care of the dispatching.
While wondering if they made a good choice to take over the company, the first call came in on January 5th, 1978 and Tom was off to Saskatoon with a patient suffering with appendicitis. Initial thoughts were to give running the company a try for five years, however thirty-five years have since come and gone.
In the spring of 1978, Tom took his Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Technician course by studying when he could, which was no easy feat considering he continued to work twenty four hour shifts. In 1981, Bonnie obtained her Emergency Medical Technician license to help Tom out when needed. It was cheaper to hire a babysitter than it was to hire a full time EMT.
In September of 1987, Tom and Bonnie Prime purchased the entire Shamrock Company that served Wadena, Rose Valley and Foam Lake.
The staffing levels for the three areas of Shamrock Ambulance have seen many changes through the years. Initially Wadena was the main station for the area that included Foam Lake and Rose Valley. When Tom first took over Shamrock Ambulance, he was one of four full time staff there. In Wadena, they had four full time staff with several part time staff. When needed, a nurse, who was considered full time staff, would also go along with the crew to provide care. In 2009, Tom moved the Wadena service into a larger, more modern facility.
The Rose Valley service started with one full time Emergency Medical Technician, one part time EMT, three nurses, and three nurse’s aids. It eventually went to three full time EMT’s with three nurses and nurse’s aids. The nurses and nurse’s aids worked for the ambulance to help keep it in the community. They felt it was a vital link to health care in the area, and had become that much more important with the closing of the hospital in 1997. The Ambulance is still located in the Rose Valley Maintenance shop.
When Tom took over Shamrock Ambulance, Foam Lake had two full time Emergency Medical Technicians, and one part time. Later it would evolve to three full time EMT’s. The ambulance had operated out of the garage of the hospital until the spring of 2010, when they moved into a new, modern base built just off of Main Street.
Together, Shamrock and Midway Ambulance Care thrived and provided the areas of Rose Valley, Wadena, Foam Lake and Wynyard with Emergency Medical Services for the following years and continuing into the future.
Kelly Prime followed in his parent’s footsteps and chose a career in Emergency Medical Services by attaining his EMT in March of 1997. Six years later in May of ’03 he completed his schooling for his EMT-Advanced level and then upgraded to an Intermediate Care Paramedic later that year.
While continuing to learn the ins and outs of running the company from Tom and Bonnie, Kelly took another step in his education and graduated from the Advanced Care Paramedic program in December 2011. Kelly is not only involved in EMS in the communities that he serves but he has been on the board with S.E.M.S.A. since 2003 and is a special advisor with Canadian Medical Assistance Teams.
Shamrock and Midway Ambulance Care continues to be a progressive company under the same management, which includes Tom Prime. Our staff continue to hone their knowledge and skill to provide the communities that we serve with only the best service with the best equipment possible.