Highland County Board of Supervisors Gives Update on SRO and Announces Comprehensive EMS Plan for Review


The Highland County Board of Supervisors met January 2nd for the first regular meeting with newly elected Supervisors in place. Harry Sponaugle is the only incumbent, with both Henry Budzinski and Paul Trible serving their first terms. 


After introductions and standard agenda and minutes approvals, the board moved forward with the adoption of new rules to help their meetings run more effectively. New meeting schedules for 2024, including work sessions, were also approved.  


Highland EMS chief Nick Fialo then gave an update on the status of current equipment as well as a monthly EMS report. The teams received 21 calls in December and are able to get ambulance 601 back into service with the purchase of a drug box, which is a minimal purchase and good news for the community as a whole. Fialo also thanked volunteers for jumping in and helping throughout December when several of the paid staff members were out sick. 


EMS captain Debbie Trible reported that systems were running smoothly and thanked the new board for their commitment to bringing a unified EMS system to Highland. Captain Trible was later praised by her husband, Supervisor Paul Trible for her unending service and commitment to the Highland community.


Newly elected Sheriff Bob Kelly gave an update on the School Resource Officer at the Highland County Public Schools. Several faculty members and school superintendent Drew Maerz were in the audience to express their support for filling this position.


Here’s Sheriff Kelly:


“I just want to report on our SRO, school resource officer. Today was her first day back. Deputy Beth McGuire. She’s a full time deputy, which means that the sheriff’s office is going to sacrifice a patrol officer, because SRO is basically a full time position. But, we were willing to make that sacrifice because of the importance of having an officer at the school for protection. There are a lot of people there during the day. The faculty, students, visitors. We felt that the sacrifice was worth it.”


Supervisor Budzinski then read the comprehensive EMS plan for the county, which is a draft to organize the units into one system with one goal and one mission. This plan will be available for public comment at the next work session. 


Supervisor Trible elaborated on the goal:


“What we want to do is get the best service in Highland County at the lowest cost. In order to do that, we have to have this volunteer component. In order to have the volunteer component and the paid component, we’ve got to work together as one group. Because working as two groups has not worked.”


This story covers the first half of the meeting, for part two, continue listening to Allegheny Mountain Radio.

Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

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