ALTON, IL – When Vice President Joe Biden needed ambulance coverage for his May 13 visit to the St. Louis area, the Alton Memorial Hospital ambulance service was more than ready to answer the call.
EMS personnel were on call as part of the vice presidential motorcade for several hours that day, from the time Air Force Two landed at St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto around 2 p.m. until it left around 9 p.m.
“The whole thing was an amazing experience,” said Jason Bowman, manager of EMS at Alton Memorial. “I’m sure it’s something none of us will get to experience again, but we’ll never forget it. There is so much preparation and planning for a visit like that.”
Bowman said he got a call about two weeks in advance from a Secret Service agent for the Southern Illinois region who was familiar with AMH from a previous job, and Bowman jumped at the chance to help again.
“One of the big things that helped was our affiliation with BJC,” Bowman said. “We were in the motorcade to provide transportation in case there were any medical issues at all. It was really something as we made our way into St. Louis. There were so many people lining the streets taking pictures.”
The AMH crew that was covering at the airport was paramedic Mike Mulrean and EMT Amy Meredith. The crew in the motorcade included Bowman and Don Millitello as paramedics along with EMT Sam Mitteis.
Biden’s first stop was the Gateway Arch, then it was back to Alton for two fundraisers – one at the Simmons Law Firm and a second at the home of Alton attorney Jon Simmons, located in the exclusive Fairmount neighborhood in Alton.
“We were thrilled to help,” Bowman said. “Every person involved has a very specific job. And we were to leave the motorcade under no circumstances. They came to the hospital a couple weeks ago for a security check, and everything was organized to the last detail.”