By Alan Bulluck email@example.com
March 20, 2014
Ashe Medics, the county’s new ambulance service provider, finally has a home.
On Mar. 6, Craig Sullivan, who owns and operates Ashe Medics, purchased the former Blue Ridge Electric Membership Cooperative property on Mount Jefferson Road, near the intersection of U.S. 221.
“It’s a really great facility and was a good deal,” Sullivan said. “It’s convenient to both towns (Jefferson and West Jefferson), which is good for response time.”
Sullivan said the facility will house a minimum of six ambulances, 18 paramedics and general office staff.
When asked about the time frame for moving into the new facility, Sullivan said, “We’re working on that right now.”
“Our goal is to have everything in place by June 1,” Sullivan said.
According to the terms of its contract with the county, Ashe Medics will begin providing ambulance service on June 30.
Ashe Medics replaces Blue Ridge Medical Transport, which has been the county’s ambulance service provider since 1994.
The decision to turn down Blue Ridge’s bid in favor of Ashe Medics’ proved to be a divisive one at the Nov. 4, 2013 Ashe County Board of Commissioners meeting.
The board voted 3-2 in favor of Ashe Medics’ bid.
Commissioners Judy Poe, Gerald Price and Gary Roark voted in favor of awarding the contract to Ashe Medics and Chairman Larry Rhodes and Commissioner William Sands voted against.
Sullivan also owns and operates Watauga Medics in Boone. That proved to be a point of contention for some in the community, following the board’s decision.
Julie Lyles of West Jefferson posted a petition online at change.org, hoping to encourage the board to reconsider their decision. It read in part: “As a concerned citizen of Ashe County, I feel the voice of the county isn’t being represented. I strongly oppose the ruling of awarding a new provider not from Ashe County, the contract for the Ambulance service.”
Sullivan said he would continue to operate both companies, dividing his time between Watauga and Ashe counties.
“Initially, I’ll be in Ashe (County) most of the time,” Sullivan said.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.