The loss of a longtime Creek County Ambulance director has left a big hole in the hearts of the people who worked with her.
Rita Diehl leaves behind a huge legacy. She served her community in Creek County for nearly 40 years and helped work to make medical services better across the state.
Her legacy at the Creek County Ambulance service spans 39 years. For the last 21 years, she served as director. The people that worked with her, like Kerry Harlin and Charity Walters lost more than a mentor, they feel like they've lost family.
“She made the job fun," Harlin said. "Not only did she teach me how to do the job that I have now, but she taught me to be a better person. We were kind of a family and she wanted it to be that way.”
Walters and Harlin said Diehl was instrumental in building up Creek County Ambulance up to what it was today. A pink ambulance honoring breast cancer survivors was one of her latest big contributions.
Harlin said Diehl wanted her team to have the best.
“She was awesome, she was a great friend, and she will be missed," Harlin said.
Walters said her caring spirit went well beyond the workplace.
“She had a love for horses, animals, she took in any animal that came to her house and those animals never left," she said.
Diehl was one of the first female paramedics in the county, and was very influential in the EMS community, but she worked to better the service as a whole.
At one point, she was appointed president of the Oklahoma Ambulance Association, and also served on Governor Brad Henry's EMS task force.
“It’s quite a legacy," Harlin said.
Visitation for Diehl is Sunday at the Green Hill Funeral Home in Sapulpa.