On June 4 Ford Motor Company held its ERT Challenge Competition. Emergency Response Teams from every Ford Manufacturing Facility met up at the Ford Community Performing Arts Center to do battle and crown the best Emergency Response Team in the Ford family. Teams competed in five events: Fire, Confined Space Rescue, Medical, Hazmat, and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus or SCBA. LTP took third in the confined space rescue event and fought valiantly in every other event they participated in. LTP took third place in the confined space challenge and finished in tenth place overall.
But a tenth place finish doesn’t do justice to Ron Gonzalez, Jeff Pease, Rick “Rambo” De La Garza, Ron Smock, Robbie Turner, Billy McFarland, Brad Arnold and Kim Smith-Wiener and the rest of LTP’s ERT’s. LTP would have loved to sweep the entire competition, but two members of the team had to drop out of the competition due to family emergencies forcing the team to find replacements. The team didn’t have the same amount of practice time as other plants. Because LTP is so large, the team has more emergencies to respond to, also cutting into their practice time.
The team says that next summer they’re coming back with a vengeance, and Rawsonville Components Plant, the current king of the hill, better watch its back because the team members are too experienced in emergency situations to have an outing like they did in June. Not only have many of the members competed in past competitions, they have years of real emergency response experience.
Rick “Rambo” De La Garza has been an ERT since 1987, after he and his wife, a nurse witnessed a woman go into shock at the mall. After helping his wife provide medical support that day he became an ERT and since then he hasn’t looked back. Rambo actually recruited long-time ERT Jeff Pease, who happened to be a reserve firefighter in Pittsfield Township. Billy McFarland comes from a military family and spent 3 years in the army and received emergency response training there. Ron Smock received his emergency response training from the Navy. He was in the helicopter squadron and received firefighting training at the Navy’s number one firefighting school at Treasure Island. Ron Gonzalez was a police officer for Port Huron Township for a handful of years before coming to LTP and joining the emergency response team.
With an entire year to reflect on their experience, practice drills and respond to real emergencies, LTP is confident that it will take the top spot in the next competition “We’ll do better next time I’m sure of it, honestly I wouldn’t want to compete with anyone else” said Rick “Rambo” De La Garza