For the third summer in a row, local ambulance service PACT EMS is offering to lend their lights to the “littlest entrepreneurs” of the Palouse.

Through the summer months, parents with children 14 and younger can sign up to have PACT park an ambulance near their lemonade stand to flash their lights and hopefully help drum up a little business.

On Tuesday, the group visited a stand run by a quartet of Moore children in Moscow.

“I think it helped draw attention — people would come by and see the ambulance,” said father Derek Moore, sporting a T-shirt featuring a depiction of Darth Vader and the words “#1 DAD.” “They did a really good job of waving folks down and encouraging people to stop and come in — we did it last year, too.”

Kelly Zakariasen, who owns PACT with her husband Troy, said the Lights on Lemonade program began when they won the Palouse Knowledge Corridor’s Entrepreneur of the Palouse award in the Rising Star category. Kelly said they used the prize money from the award to establish Lights on Lemonade as a way to support local children as they try their hand at entrepreneurship. She said starting last year, they have also entered participants into a drawing that will take place at the end of the summer — first place winners receive a $100-cash prize and second-place gets $50. The drawing will take place Aug. 31. Parents themselves, Kelly said she and Troy have always had an affection for the smallest of small businesses.

“My husband grew up on a small mom and pop resort in northern Minnesota and his parents, in childhood, they always stopped at lemonade stands,” she said. “They told him that you should always stop at a lemonade stand and buy something from those kids because it’s a real encouragement.”

While they started off with the intention of serving the Moscow community, Kelly said they have since expanded to serve five regional hospitals and started a sister company, Fireline Medics, which provide medical standby for wildland firefighters. She said in the last year, they have doubled their staff and added their own 18-year-old son to the ranks as an EMT. While the children are often enthusiastic about the program, she said Lights on Lemonade is a high point for PACT staff as well.

“Our staff really loves it too — typically, they’re with people on one of the worst days of their lives,” Kelly said. “It’s kind of fun, for change, to do something where you can really make a little kids day and it turns out to be one of the best days of their lives.”

Those wishing to sign their children up for Lights on Lemonade can contact PACT EMS at (855) 722-8637 or email them at contact@pactems.org.


Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636 or by email to sjackson@dnews.com.

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