Herb André de la Porte
My name is Herb de la Porte. I was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 1962 and spend most of my childhood in Belgium near Brussels. After two years of merchant marine academy in Amsterdam, I joined my parents and two brothers on their immigration to the united states or, more specifically, Elyria, Ohio. Elyria might sound like a little backwater, but is the home to some very large corporations like Ridge-tool, Invacare and Moen. Here I initially started on a college degree in mechanical engineering, but became very involved with the Eaton Township Volunteer Ambulance service where Maud, my mother, had become the EMS coordinator. I became an EMT through a JVS outreach program. Our first instructor was tragically killed in a car crash while he was on his way to teach our class. He was replaced by Ollie Murray, an Elyria firefighter, who lateron took charge of part of JVS' adult education curriculum. In 1984, I started as an EMT with Majoras Ambulance. We worked out of the back of a garage on Middle avenue from where one ambulance handled the entire city of Elyria. The crewquarters consisted of a small room with two couches and a phone. Dispatch during the day was handled by an answering service. In 1985, Majoras lost their contract with Elyria to Laasco, a company from Lorain. Providing Ambulance service up to that time was not nearly as involved as it is today. Very few systems provided paramedic service. Anyway, Laasco started offering this service to Elyria and pretty soon, Majoras ambulance was ready to close the doors. At that point, I was introduced to the opportunity of a lifetime, along with a partner. LifeCare ambulance was opened for business on august 1, 1986. My partner had quite a bit of ambulance experience behind him and sure knew how to present an impressive resume, which helped turn the company into the beginnings of a paramedic system. Later in '86, we regained the contract for EMS service in Elyria, and a few months later, Laasco came up for sale and we scraped every last dime we could together to expand our fledging company. I learned a lot that year, especially when it came to whom you can trust in life. There were frightfully few people whom rose to the top. Especially when it came to drunken ex-owners, psychotic partners and an equally frustrated book keeper. Anyway, the Partner took of after one very turbulent year, which was wrought with poor reimbursement (or was it good reimbursement with poor recording), megalomania, old equipment and a very tragic accident involving one of our squads. Maud became the President of the company and her task was not an easy one, but she was the only person I knew who could pull the job of. She did an awesome job and LifeCare Ambulance is currently at the cutting edge of paramedic care.
During this period I was introduced by some of the Emergency room nurses to their ward secretary, Sheila. Sheila finally gave in and married me in 1990. She recently finished her OR technician training and is now working in EMH. She also is very active in the Elyria United Methodist Church where, amongst other things, she organizes the hot-meals programs and participates every year with a volunteer theatrical group's play in Avon Lake
My brother Pete married in 1987 to Gayle and is currently working with my dad manufacturing specialty doors. They have two kids, Chelsea and Christopher. Chris is my favorite nephew, as he is completely enamoured by any of the vehicles his uncle brings over, regardless what it is. My own kids could not seem to care less about any of that, as long as their daily routine of pokemon mind-rot is not interrupted
My other brother Robert moved back to Germany after college, married Rita, who he met there, and currently works for Nordson in Germany
My Dad, Arnie, achieved his reputation as a turn-around specialist for industries that were on the verge of bankruptcy. He is currently also the honorary council for the Netherlands here in Ohio
Herbert André de la Porte