By Crystal Burns
At the ribbon cutting of the Trenton helipad, located on Halliburton Street off Highway 45 Bypass W, brothers Bob and Ken Wilson donated one-year, basic subscriptions to Air Evac Lifeteam for every Trenton resident.
Bob Wilson, owner of AVC Inc. in Trenton, introduced his brother Ken, who lives in Connecticut and owns the largest flight planning business in North America, as the one who got all the good looks and brains of the family. Together, the duo presented checks to Mayor Ricky Jackson for the gift of Air Evac Lifeteam memberships. The companies split the cost to provide the air ambulance service in Gibson County.
“This is a great thing for the citizens of Trenton,” Jackson said. “This is just the first step. This can only help the citizens of Trenton and northwest Gibson County.”
In February 2017, Bob Wilson asked the Trenton Planning Commission to zone the property for a heliport, and the commission complied. He told the crowd gathered at the ribbon cutting last week that the heliport will include a hangar, fuel tank and crew quarters. He then hopes that he can coax a health care company to build a freestanding Emergency Room on the site.
“As rural health care moves farther away, a helicopter can help you get farther away faster,” Wilson said Wednesday
Wilson worked with a number of local partners to build the helipad. He thanked the late Steve McCartney for providing road grading services; Dale Sowell and Sowell Boys Paving; Richard Hopkins and RH Construction; Southern Concrete; Gibson Electric Membership Corporation; Quanta Corp.; electricians Ronnie Williams and John Dunagan; and Doug Pickler and Bryan Wilson.
Jeff Parrish, state counsel and field director for U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, attended the ribbon cutting and said the helipad fits in with Blackburn’s Rural Health Agenda, a three-pronged approach to making health care more available in rural communities.
Blackburn unveiled the plan Aug. 1 and said on her website, “Tennesseans worry that as rural hospitals close, they will be left without access to health care. It is imperative that we find an appropriate substitute for maintaining care in these communities. If the old models of care delivery no longer work in our rural communities, we need new models.”
The three pieces of legislation include the Rural America Health Corps Act to enhance the National Health Service Corps to incentivize academic medical centers and health care graduates to rotate through underserved communities, the Rural Health Innovation Act to incentivize communities to leverage their existing resources to provide for the community’s urgent care needs, and the Telemedicine Across State Lines Act to create a uniform, national best practices for the provision of telemedicine across state lines.
“It’s very exciting for Tennessee in general, but it’s particularly exciting for rural Tennessee,” Parrish said.
For more information on the bills, visit www.blackburn.senate.gov.
Air Evac Lifeteam
According to its website, Air Evac EMS, Inc., which operates Air Evac Lifeteam, is the leading air medical service in the United States, conducting its operations through more than 140 mutually supporting air medical bases across 15 states.
Trenton residents should look for more information about obtaining their Air Evac subscription in an upcoming issue of The Gazette.