With just a little over three weeks in the Winner community, Guardian Flight has had a significant impact in ensuring timely services for patients who are in need of enhanced healthcare. The Guardian Flight Winner base will consist of a team of eight; four pilots, two registered nurses (RN), and two paramedics. The pilots will work two weeks on and two weeks off, whereas the RNs and the paramedics will work one week on and one week off. While they play a vital role in our community, it’s equally important to get to know those providing the services. As the director of marketing and philanthropy, I had the pleasure to meet a few of them and get to see the interior and exterior of the plane. Chelsea Groom is a paramedic who is scheduled to move to Winner in March. She and her nine-year old black lab, Maya are looking forward to being part of the community. Chelsea is originally from the Tallmadge, Ohio area and therefore is a huge Cleveland Browns fan. Prior to joining Guardian Flight, she worked in a Level I Trauma Center in Cleveland, which has provided her great experience that will benefit her as a flight paramedic for Winner and the surrounding communities. Although she is new to the community, she is very impressed with how friendly everyone is and how excited they are to have Guardian Flight as an added community service that will compliment Winner Regional Health. Chelsea expressed receiving a very warm welcome at Winner Regional Health and that Julie Hennebold, RN and the Utilization Review/Discharge Coordinator was very helpful in giving her a tour and answering any questions she had.
Like any great service, someone needs to lead the ship, or in this case fly the aircraft. Samantha Hendy is one of four pilots, who is from Casper, Wyoming. She brings over nine years as a pilot from flying corporate to medic flights. She expressed how much she appreciates having a part in helping others, especially in a time of need. When she was hired on as a pilot for Guardian Flight, she was given two choices, one being Winner and the other being in Colorado. Once she realized Winner had a golf course, she knew it was a great fit, for those days she is not working.
Since being stationed in Winner on January 14th, they have provided 12 flights, 10 for Winner Regional Health and two from their Rosebud location. Their flights consisted of those with Covid, pneumonia, STEMI (heart), and surgeries. While this is only a few, it is important to understand the impact of timely services, especially in times of trauma.
One concept that sounded very loud throughout my interview with them, was their team approach. They have a strong and mutual respect for each other’s experience and skillset. In fact, Samantha stated, “I am never worried that they will leave without me,” keeping in mind she is the pilot. While it is seldom, times may arise when they have to refuse a transport, due to health concerns, weather, etc. However; those decisions are always made by the pilot, RN, and paramedic. In these situations, they want the community to know they are present to assist Winner Regional Health in any way possible. Please take a moment to reach out to them when you see them in the community. Also, a sincere thank you to Guardian Flight for being an event sponsor for the Comedy Night and Chili Feed on April 5th, 2022.