Most Impactful philanthropic company

Robin Sharma once said, “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”

Osage Ambulances, a company started in 1983 in Linn, creates ambulances that are shipped all over the country. The team builds custom van ambulances, modular ambulances, and remounts, where they refix the body to a different chassis. The company has five owners, 105 employees, an 85,000-square-foot facility, and an output of about 250 ambulances a year. While all these numbers are important, perhaps the most important number is the significant annual giving by this company to the community.

“We are big supporters of the United Way and have been for 25 years,” says John Kehoe, president of Osage Ambulances. “We’ve had an employee campaign that has been incredible. We participate strongly in that every year.”

 In 2019, the company raised $62,612 for United Way, with more than 90% employee participation. Those same generous staff members also support the Samaritan Center, the American Heart Association, the Osage County Caring Project, and the Good Shepherd Pantry. Every August, the employees donate time to do a pork burger sale to benefit the Osage County Anti-Drug Community Action Team. Last year, they served 1,500 burgers
with staff, starting the fire at 6:30 a.m. and not ending until 1 p.m. It’s the incredible teamwork that makes the group exceptional.

“At the end of the day, the people on this team know they are extremely fortunate, so we all pay it back.”

When it comes to charitable giving, Kehoe notes how important it is to have buy-in from your management team, and all of their owners have supported in a big way. Kehoe has even served as a United Way campaign co-chair in previous years. Still, it’s the heart of his employees, as well as their longevity of service, that shines the brightest.

“At the end of the day, the people on this team know they are extremely fortunate, so we all pay it back,” Kehoe says. “Not everybody has what we have. Our guys are really focused on that and understand how important it is.”

Kehoe says that 70% of Osage Ambulances employees have been with the company 15 years or longer.

“We have low turnover and quality craftsmanship,” Kehoe says. “There’s a lot to be said for an organization that can keep people that long. While we’re not the largest manufacturer, we’re focused on making sure we stay committed to our culture and business legacy.”

It’s definitely a legacy that keeps on giving and giving and giving to our community.