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"I was upset. It's been in my family for so long. It's hard," said Dunn, who has worked 19 years for Rockingham, most recently as a paramedic and quality assurance supervisor.
"We've been competitors for over 20 years, so we're very familiar with each other," Lemire said.
Rockingham's workers, with experience and skill, and knowledge of the Nashua area, are attractive to other companies. Nashua itself, with its population and large number of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, also is attractive open turf with the departure of Rockingham.
Dunn and other Rockingham employees losing their jobs hope to soon be adopted into other families, which is being made easier by companies around the region.
attracted to Rockingham employees, said Keith Lemire, CarePlus vice president and human resources director.
Emergency medical service workers tend to be tight knit, which makes the closure even more difficult, he said.
MERRIMACK When Rodney Dunn was told Rockingham Ambulance would close its doors at the end of September, he felt more than just worry about losing his job and having a family to support.
rather than using them to pay back the so called "bed tax," has left the state's hospitals facing sharp cuts in income.
"We still have 911 as a component of this company," Lemire said.
Dunn began at Rockingham Ambulance as an intern while he was still a student at New Hampshire Technical Institute. He was hired by Rockingham when he graduated and has worked for the ambulance company since.
One of those businesses, Merrimack based CarePlus Ambulance Service, hosted two open houses Thursday. Dispatchers and billing department employees as well as emergency response workers were invited Omega Speedmaster Mk2 to tour the company's 4 Center St. headquarters and to talk with CarePlus officials.
Rockingham employs about 174 people in total, Stawasz said.
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Rockingham's closure could allow CarePlus as with AMR to move into the Nashua and Hudson area, particularly in its field of specialty transporting patients to and from nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals.
CarePlus has 140 emergency service workers in seven stations: Lebanon, Laconia, the Seacoast, Concord, Manchester and Merrimack, said Debbie Curtis, vice president of customer relations.
There will still be some 911 calls, the bread and butter of Rockingham's business.
CarePlus is one of several companies competing for Rockingham workers. American Medical Response, a national company, has held eight such job fairs and has hired 50 or more Rockingham workers. One of those hired is Executive Director Christopher Stawasz, who will join AMR as the operations manager for Greater Nashua.
"They brought us in and talked to us. They were very fair and honest. But it's tough," Dunn said.
"They can help us achieve our goals, and we can help them with gainful employment," Lemire said.
That's why it was so hard for Dunn, a Merrimack resident, when he learned that St. Joseph Hospital, which runs Rockingham, was closing the company Sept. 30 for budgetary reasons.
CarePlus is one of what probably will be several agencies trying to contract with facilities now under contract with Rockingham. How many of those contracts CarePlus wins will determine how many ex Rockingham employees the company can hire, Lemire said.
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The transition for workers from Rockingham to CarePlus should be "exceptionally easy," Lemire said.
Companies compete to hire Rockingham Ambulance workers in Nashua area
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