History of the Volunteer Ambulance Services in Northbrook

Sep 25, 2022 | Featured Posts, Uncategorized

Photo above L-R: Bill Carey, Bob Taylor, Larry South MPP, Malcolm Bates

President Shirley Sedore made a presentation to the CDHS on September 19, 2022 about the Volunteer Ambulance Service. The Northbrook satellite of the Denbigh volunteer ambulance service officially opened Sunday, September 8th, 1985 at the Lions Hall in Northbrook. Bob Taylor of the Northbrook service said  that they actually went to work August 29th and had a very busy Labour Day weekend. “We answered 13 calls by September 8th”, he said. Two were life threatening emergencies . Mr. Taylor said that they are playing a role in saving lives and that the quick response time of the Northbrook volunteers is much appreciated.  Bill Carey was the Master of Ceremonies at the official opening in the Lions Hall (Bill Carey had former experience with City Ambulance in Napanee). John Savigny gave a history and tribute to Northern Emergency Organization. Larry South, MPP for Frontenac-Addington brought greetings from the Ontario government and Malcolm Bates, Manager of Land Operations for the Province of Ontario presented the new ambulance to Bob Taylor, representing the volunteer ambulance service.  Source: Tweed News, Vol 99A, No. 38, Sept 18, 1985.

Presentation by Shirley Sedore at Cloyne and District Historical Society Sept 19, 2022

“My appointment came and that was when I first met Bob Taylor. Denbigh had a successful volunteer ambulance service already that had been in operation for some years. The Ministry of Health thought it would be a good idea to work under them for a time since they could provide lots of helpful information. Kingston Dispatch Centre wasn’t strong enough to reach our area so Renfrew became our original dispatch centre.”

When we knew for sure that we were getting the ambulance, Northern Emergency Organization (NEO) ran an ad in the Frontenac News asking for volunteers to take a course to work on the ambulance. We were given an emergency first response course by Bob Taylor. At the first course there were 12 people, three of whom had responded to the ad. They were Betty Pearce, Rick Wilson, Jeanine Judkins who had been an EMT in the states. The others were former NEO members.

After the first course more volunteers came forward and Bob gave the course a second time. The ambulance was delivered in August 1985 and we officially went into service of September of that year. The 15 names below are the first volunteers after the ambulance went into service:  Kevin Paterson, Lori Wagner, David Savigny, R. J. Vermuellen, Ian Brumell, Merrill Savigny, Susan Cuddy, Donna Head, Betty Pearce, Shirley Sedore, Rick Wilson, Bernadette Taylor, Tim Trickey, Shirley Cuddy.  Other volunteers were: Debbie Meeks, Arnold Flieler, Ibra Cuddy, Wendy Wicklow, Oscar Ruttan, Narcy Marisette, Cathy Ballar, Judy Parks, John Baker, and Darlene Kelford.

We got a stipend of $2.00 per hour for being on standby and $30.00 for a call. When Bob and family came to Northbrook first they lived in the Pine Grove Motel for a while and the ambulance was kept there. When cold weather came it was deemed the ambulance would be left with the driver whoever was designated the driver on that shift and they met their partner on an agreed upon spot.

Our first base was where the funeral home is (Milestone, south of Northbrook). There was originally a Stedman’s store there. When the lady closed the operation she rented us the premises. Our next base of course was where Bob now lives (in Northbrook next to the Pine Grove Motel).

In 1985 we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the ambulance service with a dinner. Five people were presented with stork pins which were presented to crews who delivered a baby.  Oscar Ruttan, Shirley Cuddy, Bob Taylor, Rick Wilson and myself received stork pins. Ten Thousand Hour service plaques were presented to Ian Brumell, Gloria Gray, Rick Wilson and myself.

When Bob retired as Manager, Tim Trickey became our new Manager.  Ambulance service was downloaded to the County in 2003 and we soon became a full-time, paid service.  This ends the story of the Northbrook area volunteer ambulance service, I am however, going to mention the County due to lack of perception maybe, thought to close down Denbigh ambulance which would leave them in a position before we got an ambulance. Henry Hogg argued strongly against this and even took two busloads of Denbigh residents to County Council.  This resulted in Denbigh staying but, only as a 12-hour service which it remains to the present. “

Shirley had to leave the meeting early and asked Betty Pearce, Shirley Cuddy and Ian Brumell to field questions from historical society members. Bob Taylor and Shirley formed the list of volunteers from memory (above).  Betty Pearce brought an article from the paper about the 10th Anniversary Celebration. Nancy Cannon formed an award plaque for people who had done extremely good service to the ambulance, just not as an attendant but also helping with fund raising, Board work, and those kind of things and Betty Pearce got the first one and is displayed in the Pioneer Museum as well as my 10,000 hour plaque. Ian still had the ambulance patch and it is over on the table which was on our sleeves of our uniform.


Members of the Northbrook Volunteer Ambulance 1987

Members of the Northbrook Volunteer Ambulance 1987. Tweed News, June 17, 1987

First Board Meeting of Northbrook Volunteer Ambulance Service 1987

First Board Meeting of the Northbrook Volunteer Ambulance,L-R: Dwight Neddow, Marg Axford, Jeanine Judkins, Cathy Ballar, Ian Brumell, Kevin Paterson, Bob Taylor, Bob Taylor Jr., Dr. Zaidoon Tobia, Betty Pearce, 1987

10000 hours Volunteer Service -1995

10000 hours Volunteer Service -1995. L-R: Ian Brumell, Gloria Gray, Shirley Sedore, Shirley Cuddy, Rick Wilson

Shirley Cuddy-Ian Brumell-Betty Pierce

Former members of the Northbrook Volunteer Ambulance Service in attendance at the CDHS General Meeting Sept 19, 2022. L-R: Shirley Cuddy, Ian Brumell, Betty Pearce.



  1. One thing did occur to me. My appointment to what, it was the Emergency Health Services Committee of KFL&A District Health Council. One thing I forgot to mention was that we all had to be vaccinated for Hepatitis C. Dr. Tobia did that for us.

    • Thank you Shirley for the clarification and presentation!

  2. I loved reading this! My dad, Rick Wilson, was very proud of his time with the volunteer ambulance base. I wish he was still here as I know he would have loved it even more than I did. <3

    • Thank you for the comment Richelle. I remember taking a first-aid course from your Dad. He really knew his stuff! Ken Hook.

  3. I am glad that my father (Bob Taylor Sr). Choose to get involved with starting an ambulance base in Northbrook, which was a severely under serviced area.
    I moved back there in 1985 from Kingston, and I have seen how the service transformed from a Volunteer service to a full time paid service. Many people started thier careers off there for example Kenny Heintz (full time kingston ambulance, Tim Trickey, Chris Anderson (Toronto EMS Advanced care paramedic).
    It was my pleasure to grow up with NAVAS (NORTHBROOK AREA VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE SERVICE)
    It was also my pleasure being a volunteer as well with over 6,000 hours.

    • Thank you for the comments Bob Jr. The many volunteers, including yourself, performed a valuable service, leaving quite a legacy. The forerunner to the NAVAS as you know is the NEO (Northern Emergency Organization). In January 2023, David Savigny will be speaking about the history of this organization at our general meeting. It should be very interesting.


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