By Lori Cathey
The Rutherford Fire Department and Gibson County Fire & Rescue Station No. 9 recently hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new air ambulance helipad.
Around 40 people were present on Saturday morning, March 7 for the event. The new helipad will be located on the south side of the Gibson County Fire & Rescue Station No. 9 building located at 750 North Trenton Street in Rutherford.
At this time, when a medical helicopter is needed in the Rutherford area, there are several different locations throughout the community where the fire departments can land the helicopter. Rutherford Fire Department Assistant Chief Jon Stafford, while answering a call, saw a need to have a dedicated landing place.
“This would make a great asset to have for our community,” he said. “With the nearest hospitals being 30 to 40 minutes away, it adds stress to the Gibson County EMS ambulances because of the distance they may have to travel from.”
The following day, Stafford contacted Gibson County Fire Chief Bryan Cathey about a dedicated location.
“I thought this was a great idea, especially since the City of Rutherford has an agreement with the AirMedCare Network (Air Evac Lifeteam) giving their residents multicounty medical emergency membership coverage to Air Evac Lifeteam air ambulance,” Cathey said.
Stafford made contact with Gibson County Fire & Rescue Station No. 9 Chief John Baker and the two begin working together on this project. They started raising money through donations and looking for persons to donate their talents. Two months later, they had obtained enough donations and volunteers to complete the helipad.
Donating and volunteering for the project were Twin City Barns, Universal Contractors, City Lumber of Dyer, City of Rutherford, Rutherford Police and Rutherford Fire departments, Gibson County Fire & Rescue Station No. 9, Air Evac Lifeteam, Eddie Bell, Jackie Finch, and Terry Jones.
“I am so excited to be part of this,” Baker said. “It’s a great addition to the City of Rutherford and the county. The helipad will give the air ambulance helicopters safer access in and out, day or night, to provide a better service.”
All three air ambulance helicopter services in this area, Air Evac Lifeteam, Hospital Wing and Vanderbilt LifeFlight, will use the helipad in Rutherford. Upon completion, when weather permitting, leaders will host a ribbon cutting ceremony.