McDowell EMS staff, along with members of the original team who started the agency, were recognized Monday night by the McDowell County Board of Commissioners. The Board presented the agency with a resolution for its 40th anniversary. Pictured (front row, from left) are Dr. Jerrill McEntire, retired medical director and pioneer of EMS; retired major and pioneer of EMS John Angley; EMS Capt. Adrienne Jones; Lt. Brenda Agreda; Lt. Andrew Pressley; Lt. John Bruner; Deputy Director Craig Walker; Emergency Management Assistant Angie Wright; (middle row) EMS Medical Director Dr. Edward St. Bernard; retired captain and pioneer of EMS Barry Bailey; Sgt. Courtney Setzer; Logistics Officer Steve Hancock; Sgt. Johnsie Parker; Capt. Donnie Tipton; Lt. Chad Robinson; (back row) Assistant Medical Director Steve Wilkerson; Commissioner Tony Brown; Commissioner Lynn Greene; Capt. Marvin Hancock; Lt. Jason McKinney; Commission Chairman David Walker; Commission Vice Chairman and retired EMS captain Barry McPeters; Commissioner Matthew Crawford; Dr. William Maddox of Asheville Cardiology; and Emergency Services Director William Kehler.

Commitment. Compassion. Service.

Forty years ago, a group of medical service professionals came together, committed to providing McDowell’s citizens with a better means of pre-hospital care.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for 40 years, compassion has carried paramedics through some of the best and worst scenarios they will ever experience.

After 40 years, the quality of service is what keeps McDowell County EMS among the best in the state and nation.

“On behalf of the McDowell County Board of Commissioners, I would like to congratulate McDowell EMS on their 40th anniversary,” said Commission Chairman David Walker. “McDowell EMS has a reputation statewide for its innovation, professionalism and patient care. The people of McDowell County can be assured that they will receive the best care possible when treated by McDowell EMS staff.”

“Emergency Services Director William Kehler has continued the great work of his predecessors in making McDowell EMS the best agency in North Carolina,” stated County Manager Ashley Wooten. “The quality of care available to the people of McDowell County is second to none and a testament to the hard work of the men and women of McDowell EMS who give their all every day.”

On Monday, July 10, the commissioners passed a resolution recognizing McDowell County EMS for its 40 years of excellent service. Dozens of medical professionals; EMS, Emergency Management and Emergency Services employees; retired paramedics; and EMS support staff gathered in the commissioners’ boardroom to honor the occasion, which included a standing ovation and comments by the county’s leaders and other officials.

Commission Vice Chairman Barry McPeters retired from EMS after 26 years of service.

“McDowell EMS made me who I am today, and I love all of you,” he told the retired and current EMS employees present at the meeting.

Commissioner and retired sheriff’s deputy Lynn Greene said he’s worked alongside McDowell’s paramedics for years, and thinks highly of them.

“Not only would I put your team up against any in the state or nation, I would put your team up against any in the world,” he stated.

In 2016, McDowell EMS responded to 9,691 calls and transported 6,103 patients, an approximate 6 percent increase from the previous year. They traveled 89,563 miles with patients aboard, a 4.9 percent decrease from 2015.

Kehler told the commissioners, guests and his employees on July 10: “Today, in McDowell County, from the top of Catawba Falls to the flats of U.S. 64 and all areas in between, you will find world-class care delivered by professional telecommunicators, first responders and paramedics. This team of professionals dedicate themselves to ensuring the McDowell EMS motto of commitment, compassion and service is carried out each and every day. This motto is what drives our organization daily. The basic concept of caring for patients like we care for family ensures we meet the high expectations of our patients.”

EMS Expo on Saturday at Rose’s

                To mark its 40th anniversary, EMS will host an Emergency Services Expo Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon in the Roses parking lot.

                “We want the community to come out and celebrate with us,” said Emergency Services Director William Kehler. “We are proud of the partnership we have with other emergency agencies in McDowell, and we are proud of the strides EMS has made over the past 40 years, so what better way to commemorate than with the citizens of the county we love to serve?”

                Emergency agencies from across McDowell will display apparatus and equipment. MAMA, Memorial Mission Hospital’s emergency helicopter, is scheduled to land at 9:30 a.m.

                Official remarks will be made at 10:30 a.m

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary! Thank you for your service to McDowell County!

EMS personnel

Heidi Abston

Lt. FTO Brenda Agreda

Samantha Alley

Jessica Anderson

Nimon Badgley

Andrew Boone

Lt. John Bruner

Chris Burnette

Cailan Calloway

Jamie Castillo

Chris Church

Tyler Davis

Joshua Fisher

Brian Gentry

Taylor Greer

Justin Haight

Frankie Hamrick

Capt. Marvin Hancock

Logistics Officer Steve Hancock

Jordan Harrell

Duane Hooks

Boyd Hoyle

Luke Jenkins

Capt. Adrienne Jones

Director William Kehler

Andrew Kyles

Brittany Lael

Mitchell Ledford

Sgt. Jacob Leopold

Brian Lonon

Matthew Lonon

Craig Mace

Elmer Macopson

Adam Marlowe

Derek McKinney

Lt. FTO Jason McKinney

Shana McKinney

Kaitlyn McMinn

Barry McPeters

Chris Mostiller

Tyler Norville

Admin Sgt. Johnsie Parker

Jake Patton

Lt. FTO Andrew Pressley

Lt. Chad Robinson

Sgt. Samuel Robinson

Heather Seay

Sgt. Courtney Setzer

David Stepp

Phillip Tate

Nikki Taylor

Capt. Donnie Tipton

Steve Wall

Cassey Warren

Dustin Washburn

Corey Webb

Daniel White

Health Wiggins

Gavin Wood

Zeb Wyatt

Edward St. Bernard, M.D. –Medical director

Steve Wilkerson, P.A. – Assistant medical director

911 personnel

Heidi Abston

Samantha Alley

Russell Branton

Nancy Bruner

Director Amberlie Buff

Sgt. Karissa Burris

Sgt. Anna Byrd

Derek Carlson

Landon Cloer

Brandi Duncan

Cole Finley

Frankie Hamrick

Lacey Hink

Kyle Jenkins

Adrienne Jones               

Lorena King

Trey Lewis

Becky Loftis

Billy Payne

Zach Peterson

Levi Pittman

Sgt. Ann Reel

Jason Ross

Sgt. Karen Stepp

Sabrina Taylor

Robert Walker

Ricky Wright

Christian Wyatt

Emergency management/911 addressing personnel

Derek Carlson

Director William Kehler

Thomas Lael

Billy Payne

John Reese

Deputy Director Craig Walker

Angie Wright