Pocahontas County Commissioners Authorize Hiring of 1st Three County EMS Providers

In Part 1 of our story about the February 21st Pocahontas County Commission meeting, we explained how the commissioners revised the way the Hotel/Motel Tax is distributed.

Also at this meeting, Commissioner John Rebinski and Commissioner Jamie Walker sparred with each other over the new County Ambulance Service. Walker did not like that the ambulance service, as proposed by Rebinski, would start first in the North end of the county, saying the commission should treat the county as a whole, and start it county-wide on a 24-7 basis. Rebinski countered that the northern end already has an ambulance donated by Cass Volunteer Fire Department, and if the commission authorizes him to hire the first three county employees, the program could possibly start with day-shift coverage in about a month in the northern end.

Herb Barlow, of the Marlinton Fire Department said his members are concerned about donating an ambulance that they had worked so hard to raise the money to buy and then they would not be able to use it if they donated it. Rebinski answered that this way:

“In giving this ambulance to the county and letting them use it, it is going to be strictly county-use,” said Rebinski. “It’s not going to be blended back and forth, because that gets too confusing with insurance, fueling, stocking – the whole works. It’s gonna be given over, and then hopefully, as time progresses, the county will be working on getting their own ambulance, where that ambulance will be returned back to the organization.”

Because of all the suggestions and criticisms being offered, a very frustrated Rebinski offered to back out of the entire project to let someone else take over if they think they can do a better job than him.

Seeming to be frustrated at the sparring between the two commissioners, Commission President Walt Helmick suggested putting the entire discussion off to a future work session.

Rebinski argued against that, explaining that he needed to hire three people at this meeting to be able to move forward with the program. He offered a motion to hire as county employees of the new paid ambulance service, three applicants he had already interviewed and approved:

  1. Whitney Fedak – an EMT @ $15.00 per hour.
  2. Keith Boehmer – a Driver @ $13.00 per hour
  3. Shelia Varner – an EMT @ $15.00 per hour

The motion passed with all three commissioners voting for it, although Commissioner Walker declined to second the motion, he joined the other two in passing it after Helmick seconded the motion.

Additionally at the meeting:

  • Steve and Karen McCoy offered their support for the county ambulance program, but wanted it to start-up in the entire county at the same time, citing a case last fall in South County where someone had to wait an hour and a half for an ambulance.
  • Alice Arbuckle suggested turning the Frank Tannery Office into a museum to attract tourists.
  • Cara Rose and Lauren Bennett, on behalf of the Bicentennial Commission presented framed proclamations and bicentennial quilts to be displayed in the courthouse.
  • Emily McLaughlin asked for the Little Leagues use an area in the ARC Building to set up an indoor batting cage. The commissioners want to look at the area with her before deciding on this.
  • Amanda Smarr of Region 4 received approval for Draw Request #5 from the ARC Broadband Grant and Cassandra Lawson of Region 4 presented the commissioners with the required grant papers needed for the demolition project for the former BOE Office.
  • They put off taking any action on purchasing a telephone system upgrade for the courthouse offices until their next meeting.
  • They appointed Scott McGee and Michelle Wilfong to Day Report.
  • They approved a letter committing them to provide $25,000 next year to the Mountain Transit Authority, which is done annually.
  • They scheduled their budget work sessions for March 7, 9 and 13.


Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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