News Release
Release No.STELPRD4013296
ContactCandice Celestin(315) 399-8393
Syracuse, NY, Nov 28, 2011 --

@@On Tuesday, November 29th, at 11:00 a.m., USDA Rural Development announced a $1,650,000 USDA loan guarantee with M&T Bank to Mercy Flight Western New York for the purchase of a BK 117 helicopter. It will be based out of Olean and primarily serve Cattaraugus, Allegany, Southern Wyoming and Southern Erie Counties. It will also travel into surrounding counties and Pennsylvania, providing service in Warren, McKean, Potter, and Tioga Counties.

Rural Development and Mercy Flight hosted a dedication ceremony to celebrate the agency’s financial contribution for the emergency vehicle. The ceremony, held at the Louis A. Magnano/Mercy Flight hangar on the campus of Olean General Hospital, began with a demonstration of the helicopter. The aircraft is a fully equipped, twin engine EMS helicopter. It is Night Vision Goggle capable and designed to have more room for patient care, has a longer range and travels at a greater speed, thus enabling it to reach its destination much faster. The aircraft is also capable of flying under instrument flight rules with Mercy Flight anticipating IFR operations in the late spring to early summer of next year.

Joining USDA Rural Development was Bill Heaney from Senator Cathy Young’s office, Olean Mayor Linda Witte, Mercy Flight board members and employees, local officials, along with hospital leadership and staff. At the press event, Susan Randolph shared her story of how her family needed Mercy Flight not once, but twice. Seven years ago, Susan was in premature labor with her twin boys (Joey and Bryan) and had to be flown from Olean to Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. Two years later, her son Joey was found face down in a pool and was flown from Olean to Buffalo again for specialized care. Today, Joey is doing great and Susan thanked Mercy Flight for helping saving his life - twice.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available by contacting the Batavia office or by visiting Rural Development’s web site at