LOGAN - On April 20, 2009, the Air Evac Lifeteam service was officially established in Logan County. This past Saturday, exactly 10 years from that date, members of the organization set up shop at their base at the Logan County Airport to celebrate the anniversary.
Founded in rural Missouri in 1985, Air Evac is the largest independently operated emergency transport via helicopter provider in the United States, with hundreds of bases throughout dozens of states. On every flight is a pilot, a critical care paramedic and a critical care nurse.
Air Evac's services include a variety of care, including responding to the scene of a bad accident and hospital-to-hospital transfers, the latter of which is what Michael Walker, membership sales manager for Air Evac Lifeteam and the AirMedCare Network, says is most common.
"When you go into the hospital and you need to be flown out, that's where we go. If you are in a bad car wreck, we come to you to provide world-class care here in rural America in Logan County," Walker said.
In Logan County, the Logan County Commission has made sure every resident is covered for Air Evac's services while they are in Logan, Boone, Mingo, Lincoln, Wayne, Cabell, Kanawha and Putnam counties in West Virginia, and Pike County in Kentucky. Thanks to the commission's efforts, Logan County members can upgrade to the Air Evac premium membership for lower rates of $45 per year per household if under the age of 60 and $35 per year if over age 60.
Marty Hurley, program director for the Logan County Air Evac base, said it is "unbelievable" that Air Evac has been here for a decade.
"We wanted to do this, and I had wanted to do it many years, honestly, before we actually were able to make it happen," Hurley said. "Once we got the resources in place and were able to get the aircraft here and the company wanted to come in and put this base here, we took off, so to speak, pretty quick. We almost immediately became one of the busiest bases in the country. We had seen the need for a long time and we're just happy now that we are able to finally meet that need and that we've been able to do that now, unbelievably, for 10 years."
When asked about the prospects for the next 10 years, Hurley said he hopes Air Evac continues to improve to serve the people of Logan County.
"I hope to keep doing some of the same things that we are doing to continue to be a safe, successful base that does excellent patient care and customer service, to continue to be part of the community and, of course, to change and adapt as things in the medical field always do, to always stay ahead of the game and maintain our state-of-the-art equipment and the excellence in our training of our staff," Hurley said. "I just look forward to being here for the community and for the area for the next 10, 20, 30 years - as long as we can do it."
At the time of its opening, the Logan County Air Evac base was number 85 of what is now, said Walker, over 155.
Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196 or follow him on Twitter @DVidovichLB.