By Martha Jacob –
The Ripley Life Squad is self-sufficient, only receiving funding from donations, patient billing, occasional grants and above all else income from Wednesday and Saturday night bingo games, held at the squad building.
“The Ripley Life Squad has been holding bingo games for more than 35 years,” said Craig Hauke, director of operations at the squad. “This is our only fundraiser, but it has served us well. Usually on Wednesday’s we have over 100 people playing bingo, and on Saturdays, we can easily have over 200 people here at the squad enjoying bingo.”
He continued, “We have many bingo regulars every week but we also have people who come from a lot of other counties too, even from Indiana, once in a while. Our games actually begin at 7 p.m., but most people show up around 4 p.m., which is sort of a social time for everyone to chit-chat with friends and purchase pull tab tickets where they can be an instant winner, it’s sort of like an instant lottery ticket.”
Hauke explained that the tickets only cost $1 each and include many different kinds of games. For example, for $1, players can purchase a “King of the Mountain” pull tab which includes 1,600 tickets in it which could win the person up to $3,500.
“The pull tabs are really popular and lots of fun,” Hauke said. “Then at 7 p.m. the bingo games begin and run for about two and a half hours.
“We are a self-supporting, total non-profit organization with a volunteer squad. We have 3 paid employees and 10 of the best volunteers anywhere. Every dime that comes into this squad goes directly back to the Ripley community.”
The Ripley Life Squad just paid for a brand new 2016 ambulance with money from its fundraisers. 100% of the over $200,000 cost was paid for by the life squad mostly from the bingo games. In the past the squad has raised enough to pay for all new cardiac monitors as well as many other kinds of advanced equipment, using no taxpayer dollars.
“It is important that we serve as the eyes and ears of this community,” Hauke said, “We literally bring the hospital to the patient. Our professional crew offers the highest level of care humanly possible, using the most advanced procedures. Back in the 80’s we were lucky to have a medic on a run one out of 10 times. Now we offer advanced life support and we have everything we need to start a patient’s care the second we arrive on the scene.”
Hauke said the team at the life squad feels that they provide peace of mind to its residents and the residents in return support the squad in every way, especially by attending the bingo games twice a week.
The Ripley Life Squad would like to invite everyone from Brown County to make the trip to the beautiful village of Ripley and enjoy fun game of bingo. To learn more about the games, please call (937) 392-4900.