Services for the Wythe County Rescue Squad have been extended for 30 days.
Those services were set to go away next week.
Within the past few minutes a deal was reached to extend services for a month.
The rescue squad is working with the Wythe County Board of Supervisors on a long-term solution.
Here is the news release about the announcement:
The Wythe County Rescue Squad Board of Directors has voted unanimously to extend the organization's services through April 17, 2014 at 7:00am after meeting with county officials earlier today.
The agency's Board of Directors met with representatives from the Wythe County Board of Supervisors and though a long term solution has not been obtained, an agreement has been reached which would allow the agency to extend services for thirty days. The Rescue Squad will continue to work with Wythe County's Board of Supervisors through this process.
Citizens with questions or concerns can contact the agency at 276.228.2671 for more information.
We are learning more about the Wythe County Rescue Squad's decision to shut down.
The announcement came after a Board of Directors Meeting on Saturday.
The news has come as a huge surprise not only to people in Wythe County, but also community leaders.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, emergency medical services aren't mandated for localities like police and fire are.
It's important to note the Wythe County Rescue Squad is not run by Wythe County. It relies heavily on donations and people paying for its services in a timely manner. Lately, the donations have been smaller, and patients haven't been paying their bills.
That's why the decision was made to shut down.
“The money's just not there to keep going,” Wythe County Rescue Squad executive director J.D. Hancock said.
Dewey Richmond wanted to stop by one last time to say goodbye to the place he gave 30 years of his life.
“It's just a sad thing to see it have to close,” Richmond said.
Jeremy Farley writes grant proposals for Wythe County. He met with Rescue Squad leaders Thursday to talk about a new proposal. He was working on it two days later when he heard the news.
“I don't think that anybody realized that they were going to be shutting down on Saturday,” Farley said.
Hancock says the announcement shouldn't come as a surprise. In a meeting last month, he told Wythe County that the squad only had $1,000 in hand.
“The county didn't seem concerned about that, didn't ask questions,” Hancock said. “The cash flow has been a constant up and down for the 19 months that I've been director. We've made it by.”
Farley said: “They submitted their budget last week and gave no indication that they were shutting down.”
Both sides say right now, the blame game isn't important. After this news, the focus is public safety.
Considering the Wythe County Rescue Squad ran 2,500 calls per year, it's a big concern.