Drive on

Ted Griswold

When the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northern Nevada ceremoniously unveiled the $300,000 Ronald McDonald Care Mobile on Sept. 30, one guy was on hand who may not get a lot of the credit for traveling around offering medical care to children and seniors, but he’ll definitely be a driving force. No, not Ronald the Clown, but Ted Griswold, lead driver for St. Mary’s Hospital Admission Services. Ted’s just getting to know the caravan, but it’s easy to tell he’s excited to get on the road. “For me, personally, it’s a great deal of fun. It’s comforting to know that we are able to serve people who have a tough time getting to the services available. If you can take the service to them, that’s a wonderful idea.”

What’s the Ronald McDonald caravan going to do?

There are a number of projects in the works. We haven’t finalized any yet. One will be a sealant program that we are currently doing with another truck. We have 47 schools that we go to in the Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Yerington, Fallon, Fernley and Silver Springs areas. We put sealants on second-graders’ teeth.

What other kinds of things will you do?

We want to do some health fairs, blood-pressure checks, maybe some diabetes testing. There are a variety of things that can be done.

Do you have a medical background or are you just a driver?

I was an EMT years ago, but I haven’t kept that current. Other than that, most of my dental experience is on-the-job training, working with the hygienist and doctors. But my expertise is I’ve been driving trucks for many years.

Are there special challenges to driving the Ronald McDonald truck?

This one’s easy. Our Van 3, which is our tractor-trailer unit, is 70 feet from bumper to bumper, that’s a little more of a challenge. It’s all nice, new equipment. It makes it a lot of fun and makes it easy to drive.

Does Ronald McDonald ever co-pilot on these trips?

We’re going to Yerington to the McDonald’s store, and I understand the Hamburglar will be there because Ronald McDonald has a prior commitment. There will be some representatives there.

I understand there are some high-tech aspects to this truck.

It’s got a push-button automatic transmission, turbo-diesel, cruise control, automatic leveling system. It’s got a rear-view backup camera system with a monitor inside. It’s top of the line, it’s brand new. It’s nice.

What about the medical stuff?

It has capability for digital x-ray for the dental program. It has blood pressure cuffs built into the wall; it’s got a more portable cuff, as well.

How many patients at a time can it handle?

It all depends on what you want to do. There’s not a lot of room inside; you can’t pack in 30-40 people. It’s pretty much one or two people at a time, and then maybe one or two in the office area, which is in the center cab. But we’ll be able to run through a lot of people in a day.

Why is this a good thing for the community?

We find transportation is a big problem for a lot of people. If dad has the family’s only truck, then mom and the kids might have some trouble getting to the doctor. We have a lot of families where the mom is home with the children and they don’t read or write the language. They’re not going to go to the doctor or the clinic. It’s nice to be able to bring the clinic to them. We have some senior complexes, maybe they don’t see well, or they’re not ambulatory. It’s nice to be able to take the clinic to them. We have the nurse, social services, Reno PD, Sparks PD, Washoe County Sheriff’s Department in the Kids to Seniors program, and some of that will overflow into this vehicle, too.