SAVANNAH, Tenn., Nov 15, 2011 -- "Air evacuation services provides a vital function in accessing timely healthcare for the treatment of trauma injured patients," said Robert Sibley Airport Manager Chris Tull. "This service will reduce our patient transfer times from roughly two and a half hours to 25 to 30 minutes."
The Robert Sibley Airport will now have the ability to transport their trauma patients to Memphis or Nashville for treatment thanks to a partnership between USDA Rural Development (RD) and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Aeronautics Division. Rural Development Area Director Arlisa Armstrong and local officials announced the federal investment at the airport today.
Funding for the new Helicopter Medical Support Center includes an RD grant of $82,400, a TDOT grant of $312,000 and contributions from the airport of $48,000. The facility will be owned by the McNairy County Airport Authority and will be staffed by members of the Hospital Wing of Memphis.
Construction includes a helicopter landing pad, box hanger, work space and living quarters for the on-duty flight crew. The hanger will be equipped with the latest emergency response communications equipment including emergency power generation. Officials said the support center will employ about 13 professionals to staff the facility 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.
"Reliable access to quality healthcare is critical to the economic health of Rural Communities, especially in times of crisis" said Armstrong. "Providing the best equipment and facilities saves families and businesses time and money, but most important, it saves lives."
Others participating in the event included State Senator Delores Grisham, Selmer Mayor David Robinson, Adamsville Mayor David Leckner, Chairman of the McNairy County Airport Board Robert E. Sibley, Jr., Robert E. Sibley Airport staff, Hospital Wing of Memphis staff and RD Area Specialist Billy Lane.
Rural Development business grants help local governments and non-profit organizations improve local business infrastructure and promote job growth. Business loans provide needed financing for rural businesses and loan-guarantees are also available to help private lenders to increase the pool of investment capital available for business start-up, modernization and expansion in eligible rural areas.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. With supplemental funding through the Recovery Act, the agency assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses with more than $1.3 billion in financial assistance through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants. More than 86 percent of these investments will be paid back with interest. The rest is at work creating jobs, broadening the local tax base and increasing opportunities in education, training, healthcare and public safety.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in southwest Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Jackson at 731-668-2091 ext. 2, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1495 or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 TDD (615) 783-1397