Agencies cooperate for L.V. Stabler heliport

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2000

A groundbreaking ceremony held Tuesday, May 30 at L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital in Greenville, paved the way for a new heliport that will help save lives by expediting the transport of trauma patients to critical care centers.

Funding for the project was provided through state and federal grants including a $15,000 grant received by the Butler County Industrial Development Authority from USDA Rural Development and an additional $10,00 provided by the Alabama Aeronautics Commission.

USDA Rural Development State Director Anne Payne said the project involved new partnerships with state, federal and local officials.

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"USDA Rural Development is very appreciative of the opportunity to partner with the Butler County Industrial Development Authority, the Alabama Aeronautics Commission and Stabler Memorial Hospital on such an important project," she said. "This heliport is a first for our agency-the first one to be financed through USDA Rural Development in Alabama. By joining together in partnership with rural communities in Alabama,

USDA Rural Development can help bring new ideas and resources to make a difference in the lives of rural residents."

Representatives from federal, state and local agencies that cooperated in the project included Payne, Linda Horn, Pioneer Electric Cooperative; Cecelia Meeks, field representative from the office of Senator Jeff Sessions; Steve Pelham, district director from the office of Congressman Terry Everett;

John C. Eagerton IV, director of the Aeronautics Bureau of the Alabama Department of Transportation; J.M. Chandler, chairman of the Butler County Industrial Development Authority; and Tom McDougal, chief executive officer of L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital.

As each representative presented brief comments to mark the occasion, all agreed that the cooperation between agencies to find funding for the project was the secret to its success.

"The Alabama Aeronautics Commission has long supported the construction of hospital heliports across the state and the Stabler Memorial Hospital heliport in Greenville is the latest example of this support for the rural areas of Alabama," said Aeronautics Bureau Director John Eagerton. "The $10,000 construction grant made by the commission will enable the Stabler Memorial Hospital heliport to provide more immediate access to critically needed emergency medical care for the residents of Greenville and Butler County."

Another $15,000 grant received by the Butler County Industrial Development Authority from USDA Rural Development will also be used to construct the heliport. BCIDA Chairman Malloy Chandler said the construction of the new heliport will not only enhance the emergency care available at L.V. Stabler, but will also provide a community enhancement that could give a potential industry yet another reason to locate in Butler County.

"We are happy to play a part in this project to enhance emergency transport services for the Butler County area," he said. "This heliport announcement demonstrates how community needs can be met when funding partnerships are formed to improve the quality of life."

L.V. Stabler CEO Tom McDougal spoke just before the official ground breaking ceremony to thank the representatives from each agency for their support.

"The addition of the heliport at L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital is a compliment to the exceptional emergency department services we offer our community," he said. "As a level II emergency department, we have a physician on staff 24-hours-a-day, seven days per week, and our team of professionals treat approximately 11,000 patients annually including multiple trauma cases. The heliport is a needed service to assure that we have a safe means to transport patients needing highly specialized care when ground transportation is inappropriate.

" Following the invaluable efforts of Pioneer Electric Cooperative, the Butler County Industrial Development Authority, USDA Rural Development, the City of Greenville, Butler County and the citizens of our community, the heliport has become a reality," McDougal continued. "The heliport is a wonderful example of how various entities can join forces to serve our community. We are proud to be associated with these entities."