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Bob Lind, Published July 02 2012

Lind: Former ND resident a hero on one Caribbean island

A former resident of Mayville, N.D., became a hero awhile ago to a hospital staff on a Caribbean island.

The St. Jude Hospital in Saint Lucia desperately needed an ambulance. Dr. John Lyng was the key figure in getting them one, as reported earlier in Neighbors.

Now, two years later, he’s done it again.

Area people deliver

John, the son of Merwin and Myrna Lyng, Mayville, is a graduate of Mayville State University and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. He’s now an emergency room physician and the associate director of the ambulance service at North Memorial, a trauma center in Robbinsdale, Minn.

In 2008-2009, John was a volunteer physician at St. Jude, and he was appalled at the hospital’s ambulance. It was in terrible shape.

Back home, John found the West Traill Ambulance Service, Mayville, had a used ambulance available.

The service offered to sell it a low price, but it still cost a ton to stock and ship. But the folks around Mayville-Portland and other areas came through, and the funds were raised in a drive spearheaded by John.

The hospital staff hoped John could come down to symbolically hand over the ambulance’s keys, but he couldn’t make it for various reasons.

No time was lost in putting the vehicle into service. In less than a year, it made more than 600 trips and logged more than 6,000 miles.

Then last fall, John got a phone call from the hospital staff. Could he get them another ambulance?

Here he goes again

John was told a back-up ambulance would be valuable in case the original vehicle became laid up for repairs, or if an emergency required more than one ambulance.

John went into action. Bingo. North Memorial had a vehicle it could let go. And thanks to a grant and other funding already in place, this time John didn’t have to raise money.

After the rig was repainted, John and his sister, Karen Asmundson, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., drove it south last March for shipping.

Not long after the ambulance arrived in Saint Lucia, so did John. He reconnected with people at St. Jude he’d worked with when he was a volunteer there. Then he participated in the ceremony in which the ambulance was given to the hospital. Both it and the ambulance donated earlier were dedicated.

During the ceremony, a hospital official said John showed “profound interest” in the ambulance project, adding that John “exhibited noble qualities.”

There’s no indication that St. Jude needs a third ambulance. But if it ever does, you know who officials there will call.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com