In the foreground, Life Star Rescue’s building. That company will be closing, probably by the end of the month, however Braun Industries, seen in the background is purchasing Life Star’s assets to be used in an expansion of that company in Van Wert’s Vision Industrial Park. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
In the foreground, Life Star Rescue’s building. That company will be closing, probably by the end of the month, however Braun Industries, seen in the background is purchasing Life Star’s assets to be used in an expansion of that company in Van Wert’s Vision Industrial Park. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — A mix of economic news for Van Wert County was officially released on Thursday with the news that Life Star Rescue is closing its doors. The firm, which began in 1998 through the partnership of John Ryder, Dave Lengerich, and Mark Brake, was purchased by Holman Enterprises of New Jersey in 2006. The company has 29 employees and specializes in remount service for ambulances.

At the same time, Kim Braun, president/owner of Braun Industries, announced a potential agreement between Life Star and Braun. The target to close on the agreement, which is a purchase of Life Star’s assets, is June 30.

The two companies have had a good working relationship, including Life Star becoming a Braun dealership in 1999. The buildings of each firm were destroyed in the Nov. 10, 2002 tornado that struck the Van Wert area. Both companies rebuilt their facilities and were reopened by 2003.

Thursday’s announcements showed an intent by Braun to hire as many qualified former Life Star employees as possible.



“One of the key factors of the agreement was Braun’s interest in hiring as many (Life Star Rescue} employees as we have positions for and that meet our qualifications. We cannot hire everyone, but we do value the synergies of the work performed by both organizations, we value the workforce, and we want to hire those that we can.” Braun said in a released statement.

Braun went on to say that the long-standing relationship between the two firms and that she hopes the final result will be “a full and final contract agreement, as well as a positive result for many of the Life Star employees and the community of Van Wert.”

Braun Industries was founded in 1961 in Lithopolis, Ohio by Charles J. Braun. In 1999, leadership transferred to the next generation as Phil and Charma Braun assumed ownership and management. The third generation took control of the operation behind the leadership of Kim Braun and Scott Braun. The company currently employs nearly 200 workers.