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USDA approves loan for Mercy Flight to replace helicopter stationed in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens


Mercy Flight is receiving a $3,043,000 federal loan to purchase a new helicopter that will be modified for medical service operations and stationed at the Genesee County Airport in Batavia, the USDA announced this week.

Mercy Flight has not been able to station a helicopter in Batavia since a fatal crash in Elba in April.  The crash of the Bell 429 helicopter claimed the lives of pilot James E. Sauer, 60, of Churchville, and Stewart M. Dietrick, 60, of Prosper, Texas.

From the press from the U.S. Department of Agriculture announcing several funding initiatives in Upstate New York:

USDA Rural Development New York State Director Brian Murray announced investments totaling more than $46 million across 10 projects throughout the state to expand market opportunities for rural businesses and enterprises. This is part of a national announcement where U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department is investing $981 million to help create new and better market opportunities and expand essential services for rural people, businesses and entrepreneurs in 47 states, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

“Rural people provide the everyday essentials our country depends on,” Murray said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is dedicated to helping people through job creation and expansion of entrepreneurial opportunities in the rural places they live. The partnerships we’re announcing today demonstrate USDA’s commitment to advocating for rural business owners and building brighter futures for residents and stakeholders in rural New York and throughout America.”

The funding will help keep resources and wealth made by rural people right at home through affordable financing and technical assistance. It will help rural Americans start businesses and allow small business owners to grow. It will also open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing.  

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens of the Bell helicopter that crashed taken a few days prior to the accident during an emergency medical response in Batavia.

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