BY AMY WITSCHEY
The Wetzel County EMS officially opened their new facility in New Martinsville on East Benjamin Drive between Wetzel County Hospital and the E-911 Center on Saturday. They held a ribbon cutting and open house to celebrate the occasion. It also kicked off National EMS Week.
The official ribbon cutting of the new Wetzel County EMS, shown above, was facilitated by the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce on Saturday.
Many emergency responders, volunteers, public officials, business people, and citizens attended the event.
Wetzel County Emergency Ambulance Authority President Jim Colvin gave a brief history of EMS in Wetzel County, The first training class was offered in the fall of 1973 and the county obtained its first ambulance in May 1974. Through all the years and calls, Colvin said tearfully, "There is no greater satisfaction in life than knowing that we helped our friends and neighbors."
He thanked all of the emergency responders -- EMS, fire, and police -- for their service and attendance at Saturday's event. "We're all stronger knowing we have each other's back."
He further thanked the many people who helped make the new facility a reality. A partial list includes the WCH Board for allowing use of some of their promised property, Henry Parsons for surveying, Prosecutor Tim Haught for legal advice, the County Commission and particularly Commissioner Larry Lemon for helping them move items to the new building, AAA Homes, and the numerous employees and volunteers for their help, understanding, and cooperation.
Colvin further noted that the new facility was completely paid for by proceeds for the sale of their property on state Route 2, where a new Rite Aid is being built. "We do not owe a dime on this property," he said.
Finally, WCEMS?Director Joyce Raper announced that Saturday's event has prompted WCEMS to establish a new award that will be presented each year during EMS Week. It is the JLC Excellence Award, named after its first recipient, Jimmy Lee Colvin.