Officials with Acadian Ambulance have confirmed that Richard Zuschlag, one of the men to form the company, has died following complications after surgery.

Zuschlag was 76 years old and in recent years he had battled cancer. He also recently had surgery associated with his treatment.

He was the CEO and Chairman of Acadian Ambulance Service. Zuschlag was born in Greenville, Pennsylvania. He held a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical from what was known at the time, as Capitol College in Washington, D.C.

Before coming to this area he worked for Greenville Broadcasting and Westinghouse Electric Space and Defense.

Acadian Ambulance staff photo
Acadian Ambulance staff photo

The employee-owner private ambulance service was started in the 70s in Lafayette and quickly branched out to multiple parishes in Acadiana and then to the entire state. The growth of the company only continued to accelerate in recent years.

Zuschlag along with Richard Sturlise and Roland Dugas formed Acadian Ambulance. While it was tough raising capital for the company, they made the decision to hire medics home from Vietnam to staff the ambulances.

They also decided to sell memberships to be a part of Acadian Ambulance.

Acadian Companies
Acadian Companies

It was in 1971, that the partners secured a contract with Lafayette Parish via the police jury system in place at the time to provide ambulance services to the parish.

The following is the statement released this morning from Acadian Ambulance:

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share with you the passing of our friend, mentor, and leader Richard Emery Zuschlag. Richard fought the hard fight that so many with cancer and its complications have endured. While we mourn our extraordinary loss, we are comforted in knowing that he is no longer suffering. He is now in the loving arms of his Lord, in whom he had unwavering faith.

Richard was a much loved and admired agent of change, not only in the state of Louisiana but across the nation. The lives he affected through his vision, generosity, inspiration, and leadership are countless. Whether a friend, employee, peer or patient, all of our lives were changed due to his undeniable determination to make a difference. 

His legacy endures through his beautiful family, every life saved, every patient helped, and every battle he waged to ensure that all people had access to high-quality medical care. He never backed down when fighting for the things he loved most: his family, his employees, and the communities he served.

His legacy also lives on in the company he tirelessly worked 53 years to grow and nurture. Acadian Companies is not just a successful organization but also serves as an example of how servant leadership, high integrity, and unwavering determination create success, not for one but for all. 

We will forever be changed, forever be grateful, and forever be better because of who Richard was and the lessons and legacy he has left us. He treated everyone with respect and was constantly striving to bring people together for the greater good. It is up to all of us to honor this legacy by living and leading by his example and his faith. Because of Richard, Acadian is stronger than ever, and in his honor, we will carry on his life’s work. 

Special thanks go out to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Dr. Charles Burnell, Dr. Jason Breaux, Paul Hamilton, and the many friends and healthcare providers who attended to him. 

Please continue to pray for Richard, his family, friends, and all those whose lives have been forever changed by this loss. 

Information regarding services will be provided when available. We humbly ask you to please respect the privacy of the family while arrangements are being made.

The following is just one example of how Zuschlag served the Acadiana community and the whole state of Louisiana:

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