For three generations, the Pistoresi family has been saving lives in Madera County.

By Tamra Padilla
Special to the Tribune

Help On The Way by Bob Beyerley

In 1942, a Chowchilla mortuary company ran the local ambulance service. The mortuary owner decided to leave the area and asked Pete Pistoresi, the proprietor of a local automobile/towing business, to operate his ambulance “for a few weeks.” The weeks stretched into months, years, decades. In 1998 Pistoresi Ambulance Service will marked their 56th year in business.

In 1981, Monte Pistoresi became the sole owner of the ambulance service and incorporated the business. In 1982, the business expanded to serve Madera. At that time, the service received approximately 4,500 emergency calls per year and the company provided one 24-hour ambulance with two additional vehicles covering days and call backs for the area.

Monte’s son, Ted started working as an EMT in 1983, the summer after he graduated from high school. Ted started Santa Clara University in the fall, but continued to return home each summer to work in the ambulance business. Ted graduated from college in 1987 and began working full-time in the family business in 1989.

In 1998 Pistoresi Ambulance will respond to over 6,000 calls with 12 paramedics and a total of 27 employees. Three 24-hour ambulances staff and the Madera coverage area which extends into the Ranchos and part of the foothills, while one unit covers the Chowchilla area.

Each ambulance is equipped as a Paramedic unit, and is capable of providing services such as cardiac monitoring, defibrillation, IV therapy, and intravenous drug administration. The service responds to a variety of calls, from automobile accidents to shortness of breath.

According to Monte, his most memorable experiences as a paramedic are calls for cardiac patients. A Chowchilla resident, recalls the day in 1984 that Monte Pistoresi responded to her 911 call. “I was in a local tire store, selling advertising when I collapsed, and Monte Pistoresi just happened to respond to the call that day. Monte would not give up…thank God that he wouldn’t give up. Monte Pistoresi is the reason that I am alive today…..not a day goes by that I don’t say a prayer for Monte.”

The resident was clinically dead for one hour, 15 minutes. When she returned home after a long hospital stay, people would tell her “She was a walking miracle” and her reply would be “Yes, I am. As a humanitarian, Monte Pistoresi is Number One in my book,”.

Ted Pistoresi reminisces about his most memorable call: “It was a Sunday, and I was on my way to church. A police officer saw me and waved so that I would follow him. I pulled in and my father arrived in the ambulance at the same time. The patient…….. was a five-year old boy who had fallen into the swimming pool.”

“At my arrival, a police officer was giving the boy mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I started to assist with CPR, as the boy had no pulse. We began transport immediately to the local hospital while continuing CPR throughout. After doing resuscitation efforts for at least 20-30 minutes, we stopped CPR to check for the presence of a pulse. I had been doing chest compressions and rested my hand on the child’s chest. Suddenly, I actually felt the child’s heart beat start underneath my hand. It was amazing! The child did recover completely without any ill effects.”

Pistoresi Ambulance base of operations in 1942. First ambulance pictured far right.

In addition to saving lives, the Pistoresi family is devoted to enriching lives. Over the last ten years in Madera the company has sponsored dozens of community events, including: Sunrise Rotary’s Trees for Charity & Annual Shrimp Feed, Alegria Guild’s Black Tie Bash, Madera Community Hospital’s Annual Foundation Dinner Dance, Bands for Community Events, St. Joachim’s Annual Dinner Dance, Madera Academic Decathlon, Madera Special Olympics. Monte is on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee and a member of the local NAACP. They are also sponsors for numerous youth teams: Little League, Babe Ruth, Pop Warner Football, Bobby Sox Softball, Madera Soccer Teams, Basketball Teams, as well as provide free ambulance standby service for all school related activities……and the list continues.

Ted Pistoresi is a past president of Madera Sunrise Rotary . He is a member of the Elks, St.Joachim’s YMI, and the Elks, St. Joachim’s YMI, and a past member of the …. Madera County Juvenile Justice Commission. He is also a graduate of the charter class of Leadership Madera and was valedictorian of his Paramedic class.

“Over the past fifteen years Monte Pistoresi has demonstrated the commitment of Pistoresi Ambulance to community service. He is a member of the Madera Community Hospital Board of Trustees, the Madera Unified Linkage Foundation, Past president of the Hospital Foundation, Past president of the Madera Kiwanis Club, Current chairman of the Madera County Emergency Medical Care Committee, Member of the Madera Co. Action Committee, Co-chair of the 1998 major Madera County fund-raiser for Valley Children’s Hospital, Member of the Madera Chamber of Commerce, the Madera Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Chowchilla Chamber of Commerce, the Golden Valley Chamber of Commerce in the Madera Ranchos and the Madera Chamber Ambassadors.

These activities have been recognized by the Community. In 1995 Monte Pistoresi was named Chamber Business Person of the Year, in 1996 Pistoresi Ambulance was named the Chamber Business of the year and also in 1996 Monte was named Citizen of the Year. In 1998 he received the Citizen of the Year award from the Madera Elks Lodge. ”

As the father and son modestly recite this list of accomplishments, I am impressed. The work that is required to save lives is exhausting and requires selfless dedication. How do you find the time and energy to share so generously? I asked.

“I really enjoy helping people,” replied Monte, “and I want to give back to the community what it gives to me…I love Madera, the people and the work that we do.”

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