FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The head of Fort Wayne’s Three Rivers Ambulance Authority has announced plans to retire early as his agency struggles to meet demand.
Gary Booher had long planned to retire effective Dec. 31, according to a post on TRAA’s website. He has now said he’ll officially retire Oct. 1, and be “on vacation and unavailable” until that time, according to an automatic email reply.
Booher has served as executive director as the city’s main ambulance service since November 1989.
TRAA has been under fire for months amid an inability to cover 911 calls across Fort Wayne. The agency has been out of compliance regarding run times since August 2020.
TRAA has blamed a shortage of paramedics.
TRAA officials appeared before Fort Wayne City Council Tuesday night to discuss their struggles. Council members were visibly upset and said they were grateful no residents have died due to the situation.
On his retirement, Booher said:
“It’s been a pleasure and honor working at TRAA, working with the greatest people in the country, from the office staff to all of the operations staff, medics and system controllers over the years. It’s truly the hard work of all of these people that have made my job enjoyable and easier and I will miss them all tremendously.” When asked why retire now, Booher said, “After 32 years, the time has come to focus on a new phase in my life. A phase that focuses on doing things that I just never seem to find time to do right now. It’s just time to slow down and learn how to unwind.”
The TRAA board said it had already begun the process of looking for Booher’s successor. It hired a consulting firm to assist in the recruitment process.