Highland County Supervisor Angry with Two EMS Volunteers


The Highland County Board of Supervisors held its monthly meeting on October 3.

Supervisor David Blanchard recognized EMS Chief Nick Fialo who was in attendance.  Fialo reported that the county now has six full-time EMS staff members and currently has an application for another full-time paramedic, which will leave only one opening.

Supervisor David Blanchard went on to say that he was proud of both the paid staff and the volunteers for pulling together to answer calls during the staff shortage.  He said the county was happy to own an ambulance and to put it into service, because it will bring down response time.  He said he had been on the Board of Supervisors for sixteen years and thirteen of those years have had challenges with EMS.

“We have some problems currently and it really concerns me,” says David Blanchard. “We have a volunteer staff.  Well actually, I’m just going to put it out there.  We have two volunteers that want to be in charge of the whole EMS system.   That would be Paul and Debbie Trible.  So, I might be, but from appearances Paul, Debbie.   And I’m going to say, you don’t get to speak right now, ok?”

“So you can lie?,” says Debbie Trible.

“Oh, well, Debbie, do you want to stay in here?,” says David Blanchard. “Because I’m not going to have it. I’m not going to have you bullying the Board of Supervisors and I’m not going to have Paul bullying the Supervisors.”

Supervisor Blanchard referenced a letter that he called campaign fodder, written by Paul Trible, who is running for Board of Supervisors.   Blanchard said the campaign letter makes the Board, and himself, out to be the bad guys.

“Let me also say the county owes everything to Paul and Debbie Trible for the amount that they run,” says David Blanchard.  “And I say it every conversation that I’ve ever had in this Board of Supervisors about the volunteers, about you two, but you make it really difficult for our paid staff.  I mean, you say it in here:  ‘An employee’s job satisfaction should be derived from their medical service to county residents’.   You’re talking about paid personnel.  That should be the volunteers.  A volunteer should find satisfaction derived from the medical service to county residents, not to be running the show.”

Blanchard said revenue recovery received by the volunteer rescue squad is off the backs of the paid staff.  He said the paid staff run the volunteer rescue squads and the volunteers get revenue recovery.  Blanchard said Trible ran off former EMS Chief Carl Williams.  

Paul Trible said he doesn’t want to undo the paid system, but combine volunteers and paid staff into one building, with one license.   Blanchard said if the volunteers want to support the paid system, a volunteer ambulance should be put in the paid staff building the next day, since ambulances are to serve the whole county.  Debbie Trible replied that the ambulances are owned by the non-profit volunteer rescue squad.

Supervisor John Moyers said at last month’s meeting Paul Trible spoke about how well the volunteers and staff were getting along, but at the end of the meeting Trible complained about three of the paid staff to him and to Supervisor Harry Sponaugle.  Moyers said the complaints were about stickers on a private vehicle and tattoos.  Paul Trible denied that was what he said and added that anything he said was to the Supervisors and not to the employees.

To hear more news from the October 2023 Highland Board of Supervisors meeting, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

Current Weather