Funding in the amount of $720,000 for two new ambulances is on the horizon for Adair County.
A press conference to announce funding being sought by Sen. Jim Inhofe was held Thursday morning, Aug. 19, at Fletcher Park.
Mayor Jean Ann Wright welcomed the attendees.
“We are happy to be here today to celebrate such good news,” said Wright.
Economic Development Director Shelldon Miggletto said the health care providers represent the fourth- and fifth-largest employers in Stilwell.
“We have struggled with providing EMS services to our county, With this we hope to make our community safer,” said Miggletto.
Luke Holland, chief of staff for Senator Jim Inhofe, shared a personal experience.
“I’m sure we all have an ambulance story. I grew up in Bartlesville. My mom had a stroke and had an ambulance not been available to take her to Tulsa, she might not have made it,” said Holland.
An ambulance saves lives, and when Inhofe heard about the rural health needs here, he wanted to help the problem go away, said Holland.
“Sen. Inhofe has requested $720,000 for two fully equipped ambulances through the appropriations committee. They’ll determine if the bill passes. The dedicated funding route cuts a year or two and the funds should be on the way by the end of the year. This county is good to work with for this project because it has matching funds available,” Holland said.
Health care is essential for economic development, he said.
“Quality of life is everything; we want to help make it possible for the people who live and work here,” said Holland.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. thanked the senator and his staff.
"Health care is important, and improving health care and the economy are problems we’re finding solutions for," Hoskin said. "We appreciate Sen. Inhofe for helping with solutions during the worse public health problem. I’m incredibly proud of the efforts and leadership of the mayor and city. This community requires masks in buildings and we are reproducing them here, in Stilwell, by Cherokees."
He later donated 5400 masks to the city.
Daniel Bradley, president and CEO of Memorial Hospital, was especially pleased with the possibility of ambulances for the hospital and community.
“Thank you to everyone for getting the new ambulances here in the middle of the pandemic. With partnerships, we can make this happen. The goal is to get four ambulances in the county,” said Bradley.
Widespread coverage of the city and county are on the way.
“We’re wanting to focus on having a more robust availability of EMS services. Especially in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, it’s important to have those services and promptness of those services reaching city and county residences. And better coordination of care through the hospital in real time when seconds matter,” Bradley said after the press conference.
Plans for two additional ambulances are in the works.
Other entities have made pledges for the other two ambulances, said Bradley.
Dianna Yell, emergency manager, said, the enhancement of our EMS services in Adair County will let officials better serve rural citizens outside city limits.
“It’s a momentous move forward, with the central dispatch coming together and more ambulances in the county. A huge thank you from all EMS and emergency management,” Yell said.