Reading Emergency Unit began when Reading Police Department Chief, "T" Esterline, recognized the need for a local ambulance service. After a year of study and planning, Reading Police Department Emergency Unit was born. With area donations and fundraisers, a 1963 station wagon was purchased for use as an ambulance. St. John Funeral Home of Reading donated medical supplies and eleven local law enforcement personnel headed by Chief Esterline took first aid and CPR training. The public was introduced to the ambulance and newly trained personnel at the 1970 Reading Halloween Parade and the Reading Police Department Emergency Unit officially went into service that same night. The unit serviced the city of Reading and surrounding Camden and Montgomery areas. Since then, Reading Emergency Unit has grown tremendously. In November 1990, with the purchase of the VanHorn-Eagle Ambulance service, operations were expanded in Hillsdale County, including the city of Hillsdale and Jonesville. With the purchase of George White Ambulance Service in 1991, the REU service area was once again expanded to include coverage in the city of Litchfield and surrounding areas.
As Reading Emergency Unit approaches our 52nd birthday, we reflect on the past and are looking forward to serving Hillsdale County in the future. The EMS industry is constantly changing and REU continues to adapt and improve services and meet challenges such as those presented during the pandemic. Reading Emergency Unit has been there for thousands of patients over the past five decades and currently provides ambulance services to eleven townships and four cities within Hillsdale County. Our total call volume for the 2021 fiscal year was 4,289. These calls for service ranged from 911 emergencies to transfers and Assist Care (wheelchair van) type calls. REU has seven board members: President Terry Esterline and Treasurer Kathy Smith (both grandchildren of Chief “T” Esterline), Vice President Julie Games, Secretary Brenda Thomas, Trustees Marcey Boone, Namrata Carolan, and Daniel LaRue.
Reading Emergency Unit currently has 36 employees and many were born and raised in Hillsdale County. The REU employees bring the home town approach to caring for our communities. We participate in many community events, transport patients to their doctor appointments, and educate the community by providing CPR and first-aid classes.
You can see our role is more than just being an ambulance service. I would like Hillsdale County to know Reading Emergency Unit is grateful for the millage we receive from the hard-working citizens of our county. With your support, our organization looks forward to our 53rd birthday and many more to come. For this, I would like to say thank you for your continued support.
We are committed to Hillsdale County!