It is with great sadness that the American Ambulance Association has learned of the passing of Joe Dolphin, founder of Medevac Ambulance. We will be keeping Joe and his family in our thoughts during this time. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Friday, June 23 at St. Michael’s Church in Poway, Ca., at 10:30 a.m.
In 1971, Joe Dolphin founded Medevac Ambulance, which would become the first US Ambulance company to go national.
Joseph’s parents, Carl and Mary Ellen founded the original Dolphin’s Ambulance Service in 1941. In the late 1960s, the founders were retiring, and their two sons were interested in different parts of the business. Joseph chose the ambulance business, and Patrick continued the Medical Equipment Rentals.
In the 1980s, Medevac operated in Central and Southern California including: San Diego County, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Los Angeles County.
Medevac Mid-America was formed in 1981, when the company was awarded the Kansas City MO MAST contract. It was then purchased by Tom Little in 1988 after they lost the Kansas City MAST Contract. After the purchase by Little, the operation was renamed Medevac Medical Services, which was acquired by AMR in 1994.
San Mateo County: Medevac’s first 911 Contract was signed with San Mateo County in 1976. This operation closed in 1991 when they lost the 911 contract.
Santa Clara County: First Contracted with Medevac in 1978 for emergency ambulance service. The San Clara County Operations of Medevac were acquired by Paul Shirley of Pac Med Ambulance in 1989. (Vanguard was one of the 4 companies initially acquired in 1992 to form AMR) Vanguard had a long history, starting in 1963, as Santa Cruz Ambulance, then Pac Med in 1989, finally becoming Vanguard before the sale to AMR.
San Diego County: Medevac held the San Diego EMS Contract from 1978 to 1983.
Los Angeles County: The Medevac LA County Operations were purchased by Crippin Ambulance on October 1, 1992. This was the last remaining operation of Medevac.
About the Founder: Joe Dolphin was president and CEO of the San Diego-headquartered Medevac, Inc. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan to the California Emergency Medical Advisory Committee in 1974. He started the City of San Diego Paramedic Program in 1978. In 1981, Medevac was named as one of the nation’s 100 fastest growing private companies by INC. magazine. Medevac provided service in the following counties and cities: San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Missouri and Topeka, Kansas.
As the Republican nominee for California State Senate, 39th District, in 1996, Joe received more votes in his district (126,653) than Bob Dole did. In 1995, Dolphin was President of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. In 1993, he served as the Foreman of San Diego County’s Grand Jury.