"Ambulance service will continue in Calhoun County," says commissioner Kevin Helmick.

The Calhoun Commissioner has been working for weeks to come up with a plan for public ambulance service after Minnie Hamilton said they will be discontinuing the service Jan. 1.

Numerous efforts to obtain a private provider have failed.

Helmick said, "We have created a new ambulance board and have successfully got a loan for the board from Calhoun banks. The money will be used for initial operating expenses until revenue starts coming in."

"Calhoun Banks have been great to work with and are very supportive of helping with the crisis," Helmick said.

Minnie Hamilton Health System has gone extra yards to assist with the transition, commissioners said, with CEO Steve Whited offering equipment and billing services.

The new organization could take a few months to get fully operational because of licensing. In that time Minnie Hamilton has stated they will continue service for roughly $16,000 a month.

Helmick said it is very important to have the new service operational as soon as possible in order to keep expenses down.

The commission has appointed five people to serve on the board, the board holding their first meeting Wednesday evening.

Board members include Ron Blankenship, Grantsville mayor; Bruce Fitzwater, Calhoun Banks; Michael Hicks, Calhoun Commissioner; Julie Sears, OES/911 Director; Gary Knight, Calhoun Chronicle Reporter.

"It has been a struggle, with little finances, to provide an ambulance service to the county," said commission president Ch[p Westfall.

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