POMEROY — Medical transport landed Friday in Meigs County with the opening of the Med Flight facility in Pomeroy.
The ceremony for the inauguration of the service was a culmination of efforts to modernize and provide first-rate medical service to the area.
Thomas E. Allenstein, president and CEO of Med Flight, opened celebrations for the Meigs site and said the company has a long history in southeastern Ohio.
“Today’s opening is a great conclusion to a great week honoring emergency medical service in Meigs County and across the nation,” he said, referring to May 15-21 as National EMS Week.
MedFlight is a not-for-profit, accredited air and ground critical care transportation company based in Columbus. The company completes nearly 7,000 critical care transports by helicopter and Mobile Intensive Care unit each year.
“The Welston location was our first U.S. site,” Allenstein said. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Meigs. We welcome the chance to add more resources and extend and grow in the SE Ohio area.”
He said the company believes in “Partners for Life, and building a long-term relationship with Meigs Emergency Medical Services is important to their goal of proving services to rural areas.
He recognized the Meigs Med Flight crew that includes a pilot, mechanic, staff and leadership team, and said it takes everyone to make the operation successful.
Meigs EMS Director Robbie Jacks said when he came on board, he looked for ways to make EMS better.
“I always look at things and ask, ‘How can I make this better?’ Many people joined the call to improve our emergency services. It is a challenge working in a rural area. There is a lack of resources available, and there is a need to partner.”
He said that by looking to Holzer Health System and then to Med Flight, finding a suitable location and funding, everyone involved was able to “look outside of the box” to accomplish their goal of having a first-class EMS facility.
“No one said this can’t be done,” Jacks said. “A rural area has it disadvantages, but those don’t outweigh the advantages. What Meigs County has is people who will work together to get the equipment and resources necessary to accomplish a goal.”
Meigs County Commission President Tim Ihle read a proclamation issued at their Thursday meeting in observance of EMS Week recognizing the role that EMS professionals play in Meigs County.
Ihle said EMS services began with volunteers and evolved to where the county is today and offered statistics from 2014: 911 Center dispatchers answered more than 9,600 incoming calls; field crews responded to almost 4,000 medical emergency calls; and more than 3,300 patients were transported to area hospitals as a result.
“People are truly called to this job. EMS workers go when the call goes out,” Ihle said. “They stop what they are doing and respond to the call. They sacrifice their time and their family’s time to serve the people in this county. They don’t do it for the money, and we are truly blessed to have this kind of dedication in our county.”
Brent Saunders, chairman of the board of directors for Holzer, announced the new partnership with Med Flight as the Holzer emblem was unveiled on the Med Flight helicopter.
He said Holzer is community owned and focused, and that it was a privilege to work with friends and neighbors.
“With community input, we partnered with Med Flight to provide first-class medical service to this county,” Saunders said. “Every patient, every time is our goal, and we are proud to be part of a bright future of life saving.”
He said it takes a lot of individuals working together to accomplish a facility such as this one, as he pointed to a group he said was instrumental in bringing the services to the community. He referred to help from Buckeye Hills, the Governors Office of Appalachia, Ohio Development Services Agency, State Sen. Lou Gentile, state Rep. Debbie Phillips, the Appalachian Regional Development Committee, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and Congressman Bill Johnson, and credited the Meigs County Commissioners for the vision and dedication they brought to the project.
“It is a tribute to all EMS workers and the service they provide to their communities.” Saunders said.
Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Pastor Ryan Eaton, of Racine Baptist Church, blessed the facility and said a prayer for the EMS workers.
“They sacrifice their personal and family time for others, we pray that You give them strength and longevity. Many people in Meigs County see goodness and grace represented in each of them. Let them know how great an impression they are making on the community.”
As the group cut the ribbon to open the operation, a new era began for health care in Meigs County.
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155, Ext.2551.