Libby Volunteer Ambulance turns 50, seeks EMTs

Top: The ambulance’s building and fleet in the early 1970s when it was Libby/Troy Ambulance. Their original rescue truck is on the far left and their original ambulance, converted from a hearse, is on the far right. 

Bottom: Libby Volunteer Ambulance’s current building and fleet. Photos courtesy of Bob Stickney.


By Tracy McNew


Libby volunteer ambulance (LVA) is beginning an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class this week. The training is being offered to locals who are willing and able to become local ambulance volunteers.

Volunteer EMTs are the heart of our community’s ambulance service, and they have been for fifty years. LVA EMTs are on call 24-7 to provide basic medical care and transportation to medical facilities for locals in emergency situations. Since volunteers must be available to respond to 911 calls at all times, each individual volunteer is asked to be on call for at least 48 hours monthly.

Training for EMTs  includes approximately 200 hours of classroom and clinical time intended to prepare participants to knowledgably and confidently respond to potentially high stress emergency situations. The state of Montana requires that all EMTs be nationally certified, so in addition to the training, candidates must successfully pass a hands-on practical exam and a computer-based certification test as well.

LVA’s EMT class will be held on Tuesday and  Thursday evenings, and on some Saturdays over the next several months. Anyone interested can stop by the ambulance barn located at 307 Montana Avenue or call 293-6512 for more information.

LVA  was founded on Jan. 1, 1970 and will celebrate 50 years of service to the community later this year at their annual awards banquet. They are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to responding to local 911 calls. LVA is unique, in part, because they run their own vehicle extraction unit for auto accident responses. The organization employs one full-time and one part-time person primarily for management of insurance billing. They receive approximately $16,000 annually in tax dollars and also get a new ambulance every three years, but otherwise, they are self-sustaining and have been able to pay off their building, purchase their extraction equipment, and equip their ambulances with necessary supplies. Their medical director is Joe Chopyak.

Libby’s Tom Wood was one of LVA’s founding members along with Bill Hagerty, Buzz (Harold) Gilden, Fred Thompson, Bud Mitchell, Marlin Howard, Howard Paulin, Bill Melcher, Gayle Hays, George Clough, Bernie Mitchell, Mick Mills, Jerry Crier, Wayne Haines, Mark Payne, Wad McNutt, Dale Thompson, and others.

Wood said he was active with LVA for only a few years before transitioning his emergency services focus to firefighting where it has  remained ever since. He  told The Montanian, “Having been part of the Libby emergency services for over 50 years, I can say that LVA has always trained hard and worked hard to provide the Libby area with the best services that were available. Great folks, my hat is off to them for 50 years of service.”

Jeff Holder, LVA’s  board president, said that LVA is the oldest ambulance service in the state of Montana. In addition, it was an LVA volunteer who held the state’s first EMT license; license number one.

A few years after forming the ambulance service, Bob Stickney joined the cause. He shared some unique memories including the fact that their first ambulance was actually converted from a hearse.

In the mid 1980’s, Stickney recalled, the group got together and advocated for the state of Montana to repair a very dangerous area of old Highway 2 near Lion Springs where numerous vehicle accidents had occurred. LVA EMTs lined up along the roadway, one volunteer for each life that had been lost in that spot, and they took a photo to emphasize their concern with state officials. The section of roadway was eventually fixed, and today a large cross made of many smaller ones commemorates the lives lost there.


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Second moose tests

positive for CWD in Libby

Submitted by Dillon Tabish


A hunter harvested the bull moose during the last week of the general hunting season near Fawn Creek southeast of Libby. The moose was harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone near the southeastern boundary.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks collected the sample from the moose Dec. 1 at the Libby Sampling Station on U.S. Highway 2 and submitted it for testing to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. The lab identified it to be suspected of CWD infection on Jan. 14 and confirmed the positive detection Jan. 17 with a second test.

CWD was first detected in the Libby area in the spring of 2019 after a white-tailed deer tested positive. FWP established the Libby CWD Management Zone, spanning a 10-mile radius around town, and began surveillance efforts to identify the prevalence and distribution of the disease. Surveillance efforts included sampling road-killed and symptomatic animals, deer trapped in the urban center of town, and hunter harvests of deer, elk and moose inside the CWD Management Zone. More than 950 samples were collected and tested inside the Management Zone.

To date, 61 white-tailed deer, two moose and one mule deer have tested positive for CWD in the Libby area. The first moose to test positive was harvested approximately half a mile outside the northwest corner of the Libby CWD Management Zone in late October. The rest of the positives have all occurred within the Management Zone, and a majority were near the urban center of town.

The estimated prevalence of CWD in the Libby urban area, identified as the Libby Survey Area, is approximately 13 percent. In the greater Libby CWD Management Zone, the estimated prevalence is nearly 4 percent.

“FWP is working with the City of Libby as it considers an urban deer management plan that would reduce the density of deer in the Libby Survey Area and hopefully reduce the prevalence and spread of CWD,” said FWP Region 1 Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson.

During the 2020 hunting season setting process, FWP is proposing an over-the-counter either-sex white-tailed deer B license for both the archery and general hunting seasons that would only be valid inside the Libby CWD Management Zone. This license would increase overall harvest of white-tailed deer within the Libby CWD Management Zone with the goal of reducing the spread of CWD. Public input is open until Jan. 27, and the Fish and Wildlife Commission will review this proposal at its February meeting.

CWD is a fatal disease that can affect the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. Transmission can most commonly occur through direct contact between cervids, as well as shed in urine, feces, saliva, blood and antler velvet from infected cervids. Carcasses of infected cervids may serve as a source of environmental contamination as well and can infect other cervids that come into contact with that carcass.

There is no known transmission of CWD to humans or other animals, including pets or livestock. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters harvesting a deer, elk, or moose from an area where CWD is known to be present have their animal tested for CWD prior to consuming the meat, and to not consume the meat if the animal tests positive.

For more information, visit

Moody’s to host Grand

Reopening after tragic fire

By McKenzie Williams


On Thursday, May 2 of last year, Moody’s LLC caught fire and was severely damaged. Multiple firefighters responded to the late night blaze. Upon their arrival, heavy smoke billowed from out of the building’s roof. Emergency responders tore parts of the roof off in order to locate and control the flames.

At that time, the estimated cost of damages was between $100,000 to $150,000. Multiple businesses were affected including Pinup Girls Salon, Blue Creek Trading Co., and of course, Moody’s Dirty Laundry & Self Service Dog Wash, where the fire took over.

Fortunately no one was injured in the tragic fire which could have put a halt to Moody’s booming business. Afterwards Kimberly Moody, who is a cosmetologist and owner of Pinup Girls Salon had nowhere to continue doing business with her clientele. Moody didn’t have to wait long though because Clip Art Studios, just down the street, made space in their already full salon for her. Just one more example of how when someone is in need, Libby steps up.

Building owners Jay and Kimberly Moody wouldn’t give up on their closed down and burnt out businesses though. They decided to start rebuilding and just seven months later, the building they had bought about seven years prior was again ready to go.

Moody’s has made some big changes to their space. They now have two fully operating shower rooms for rent. They have also extended the whole back of their building providing more space and room in their self-serve dog wash. There is also  more space for Jay Moody’s American Heart Associations CPR certification classes.

Kimberly Moody told The Montanian, “We have revamped the building stripping down everything, the studs, a new foundation, and drainage.”

With the larger space they have made room to help the Fire Department. Moody’s now has a room with an outside door for firefighters to leave their gear 24/7. Moody’s Dirty Laundry also has a new, cool, and bright waiting room with a TV which adds extra comfort while customers wait. There are a total of 22 machines ranging in capacity from 18 pounds up to 70 pounds.

The Pinup Girls Salon is also up and running, and will be adding a new nail-tech in late March Mikayla Penny. Currently the salon has cosmetologist and owner, Kimberly Moody and Massage Therapist, Brian Wilson. The salon has a capacity for up-to six potential employees and has booths currently open.

The public is invited to come down and celebrate during Moody’s Grand Re-Opening event on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. They will have catered food, giveaways, and even offer tours.

Moody’s Dirty Laundry is open daily from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information call 293-7837.


Jay and Kimberly Moody pose for a photo after an interview with The Montanian. Photo by McKenzie Williams, The Montanian.