The Story of the Big River Ambulance distict Logo

As told by Art Combs
The story of the Big River Ambulance logo began on the weekend of February 28-29, 1976. This particular weekend Big River Ambulance had an exceptional amount of ambulance calls. Of these numerous calls we worked four fatalities; one of which was an attendant of Big River Ambulance, Eddie Paul Kriegesmann, who had been with the district since its inception.

Unknown to us at that time a registered nurse, Steve Eaton, was working at St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Mehlville. He had worked both nights, February 28 and 29, at St. Anthony’s in the emergency room. They, too, had an abnormal amount of fatalities that weekend; several of which were from Jefferson County.

When Steve got off work that Monday morning he went home and was thinking about the events of this unusual weekend. Being an amateur artist, he began painting a picture of what the weekend meant to him. In this picture he painted a white dove that to him signified peace and tranquility; on one side he painted the two praying hands; he also painted an EKG strip of a patient who was alive and then dying. Steve also painted the sun rising to signify birth or the coming of a new day.

Steve left St. Anthony’s Hospital about three months afterwards and took a job in Jefferson City as the head of the Emergency Medical Services Training Department.

In the spring of 1977, I had an appointment with Steve Eaton pertaining to Emergency Medical Technician training for Big River Ambulance. While in his office I noticed a picture hanging on the wall over his desk. Not knowing anything about his painting or his background I asked him to explain the painting to me. Steve began telling me of his ordeal at St. Anthony’s on the weekend of February 28-29, 1976, and of the death and dying he had witnessed. It struck me that Big River Ambulance had played a large part in Steve’s feelings about that weekend and how his painting came about. Also, that the loss of one of our attendants on that weekend had influenced Steve’s thoughts and his painting.

A few months later it was decided by our ambulance district to make a logo for our district to instigate "esprit de corps" among our attendants. I remembered the painting on Steve Eaton’s wall and the story behind it and decided to contact Steve to ask him if we could make a variation of his painting and to use it for our logo. I received Steve’s permission and then contacted an artist in the Cedar Hill area, Mike Vitale, who reproduced portions of the painting into a circular logo. This logo was then made into a patch for our district attendants to wear.

We feel our patch is unique and has a special meaning to the attendants of Big River Ambulance District.

This design has been used throughout the years within the Big River Ambulance District, but was recently updated by another local artist, Laura Lee McDermott. The district wanted to maintain the history and integrity of the design while updating the aesthetics and overall appearance to more reflect our goals of the district.