Local Matters

Community Sponsors

Mercy Flight

February 6, 2014 - 7:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in Mercy Flight.

Press release:

Mercy Flight and Batavia Downs Gaming will host a fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Batavia Downs Gaming facility. Our first Big Hearts for Helicopters fundraiser will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The event will have a Valentine's Day-themed buffet dinner featuring roasted top sirloin beef with Merlot mushroom sauce, chicken Marsala, pasta primavera, mashed potatoes, vegetables, salad bar, desserts, coffee and soda. Dinner will be available from 6:30 tp 9 p.m. and there will also be a cash bar throughout the event.

There will be a Chinese and silent auction and the classic rock band Karma will play downstairs during the evening at Rush 34.

We are looking for auction items and gift baskets. If your business or organization would like to participate, please call Outreach Coordinator Lynn O'Donnell at (716) 864-5060 or (716) 626-4100.

FAX is (585) 343-3623.

Tickets are $40 per person and include dinner and $15 free play at the casino. They can be purchased at all Mercy Flight air bases, A & N Automotive, and at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on East Main Street in the City of Batavia.

Tickets are PRESALE ONLY so please reserve your spot by Feb. 13.

All proceeds will go to help Mercy Flight continue its mission of being a Beacon of Hope for the community when minutes matter.

Bring your sweetie out for a fine evening of great food, music and entertainment for a good cause.

January 3, 2014 - 1:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thruway, pembroke, Mercy Flight.

The driver of a truck hauling an out-of-service Mercy Flight helicopter apparently hit a slick spot on the road and lost control of the truck, causing the trailer to roll over.

The helicopter was heavily damaged when it rolled off the trailer.

"It's just property damage," said Mercy Flight's CFO Margaret Ferentino. "That's the good news. Thank goodness, no one was hurt."

The helicopter was taken out of service in 2011 and had been sold to a company in Australia. It was being hauled to Canandaigua for repainting.

Most of the components had been removed to prepare it for repainting, Ferentino said.

Based on pictures from the scene, Ferentino said it appears the helicopter was totaled in the accident, but it will be assessed when it's returned to Mercy Flight's base in Buffalo.

The accident was reported at 10:38 a.m. in the area of mile marker 402, which is just west of the Pembroke toll plaza.

Photo: Courtesy NYSP Public Information Officer, Troop A, Trooper Victor Morales.

September 11, 2013 - 6:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, terry hills, Mercy Flight, 9/11.

Terry Hills hosted the 5th Annual Hackers for Helicopter golf tournament today to benefit Mercy Flight.

The event served as a tribute to first responders. Mercy Flight pilot Brian Smith spoke of the dedication and sacrifice of first responders on behalf of their communities and said that all first responders consider it an honor to serve. Joining him were crew members William Hockenberry and Susan Thompson.

Skydivers also parachuted onto the ninth fairway to help kick off the event.

The skydiving team of Mike Maly, Bob McEvoy, Tim Allen, Bill Zipfel, with Nichols and Anthony Maly holding the flag. Mike Maly is a Buffalo firefighter and Zipfel is a member of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. Both wore their uniforms for their dive.

August 13, 2012 - 3:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mercy Flight.

It's pretty much impossible to drive around Genesee County the past couple of weeks and not see the signs: "Mercy Flight was here."

As you might have guessed, the signs are placed at locations where Mercy Flight has responded to an emergency medical situation, such as an accident or other dire health-related call.

According to Jeffrey Mendola, director of development & external affairs for Mercy Flight, about 300 such signs have been placed in Genesee County.

"The sign campaign is important to help the community understand the role we play and the role the first responders play," Mendola said. "They see where we've been and see it could be their community or their neighborhood."

Mercy Flight reviewed all of the calls that resulted in a helicopter landing at emergency scenes throughout Western New York in the past two years and selected 2,000 for sign placement. The 2,000 locations represent only a portion of Mercy Flight calls over the past 12 years.

The signs were placed at their locations by the volunteer fire departments that originally responded to the particular calls.

Calls of an overly sensitive nature, such as domestics, were excluded, as were locations that might have very low vehicle traffic volume.

Mendola said when he was at the Erie County Fair this past week, a couple from Warsaw said they counted at least 30 signs between their home and the fair.

Since the sign campaign started, traffic to Mercy Flight's Web site is up 50 percent, Mendola noted, which is important because at the site people can learn that Mercy Flight is a non-profit organization and also learn how to make a contribution to help cover the emergency medical agency's costs.

May 1, 2012 - 11:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mercy Flight.

It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while Mercy Flight can't fly a lifesaving mission because of bad weather.

More of those missions could be flown if hospitals installed devices to assist pilots flying instrument-only.

Jeff Mendola, an external affairs director for Mercy Flight, met with the Public Service Committee on Monday and provided an annual review of Mercy Flight operations to the county, including information on plans to move toward greater IFR (instrument flying rules) capability.

In 2011, first responders issued 122 requests for Mercy Flight, and 70 missions were completed. UMMC made 34 requests and 29 missions were completed.

The majority of cancelled missions were ground or in-air standbys where it was determined that the patient did not require air transport, but about one third of the scrubbed missions were cancelled because of weather conditions.

Developing greater IFR capability is a matter have deploying helicopters with IFR technology, training pilots and ensuring point-to-point IFR devices.

A ground device costs about $30,000. And while all airports have them, there haven't been hospitals in the region with instrument flight equipment, including Strong Memorial Hospital and Erie County Medical Center.

Now nearly all of Mercy's helicopters -- including the new Bell 429, known as Mercy Flight 5, pictured above -- have controls for instrument flying.

Getting hospitals upgraded and pilots trained go hand-in-hand so that's the process Mercy Flight is engaged in now.

In 2011, 20 percent of Mercy's missions went to Strong and 43 percent to ECMC.

While Mercy Flight doesn't transport to United Memorial Medical Center, it does pick up patients at the Batavia hospital two or three dozen times per year. But the facility is close enough to the Genesee County Airport that UMMC doesn't need instrument capability, Mendola said.

The airport is within seven minutes for the Bell from any part of Genesee County. If the helicopter could fly to a property equipped Strong or ECMC, the decision for medical responders would simply be what's fastest -- ground transport to a trauma center, or transport to the airport then instrument flying for the Bell from Genesee County to the appropriate hospital.

As it stands, in medical emergency situations where Mercy Flight is grounded, ambulance transportation is the only option.

Last year, Mercy forgave $700,000 in care provided to uninsured and under-insured patients, which worked out to $842 per patient. To help cover those costs, Mercy is running a program where individuals or groups can sponsor a mission.  Donations can be sent to: Mercy Flight, Inc., 100 Amherst Villa Road, Buffalo, NY 14225.

Mendola said Mercy Flight may be the last purely nonprofit medical emergency transport operation in the United States.

March 23, 2012 - 11:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Mercy Flight.

An early morning medical emergency brought Mercy Flight to Chandler Avenue in Batavia, but it wasn't just another life-saving mission for the crew of Mercy Flight 5.

It was the 20,000th mission flown by the Buffalo-based non-profit air ambulance corps.

“When I started Mercy Flight back in 1981, I never dreamed that we could help so many people,” said Douglas H. Baker, Mercy Flight’s founding president. “I’m extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the last 30 years as a not-for-profit organization.

"We never could have reached this milestone without the assistance and support of our local volunteer firefighters, hospital and law enforcement partners and the communities we serve.”

The dispatch came at 2 a.m., Friday, and the patient was transported from Batavia to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

Mercy Flight operates from bases in Buffalo, Batavia and Olean.

Last year, Mercy Flight forgave more than $700,000 in care provided to uninsured or under-insured patients, according to a press release.

The average cost is $842 per flight.

Individuals and groups can "Sponsor A Mission" with a donation of $842. For more information, visit mercyflight.org or call (716) 626-4100.

November 7, 2011 - 2:17pm
posted by Bill Schutt in Mercy Flight, Opportunities Unlimited, Wreath.
Event Date and Time: 
November 7, 2011 - 2:10pm to November 17, 2011 - 2:10pm

Fresh 24" Holiday Wreath's are available from Mercy Flight. Orders can be made at www.mercyflight.org

Proceeds benefit Mercy Flight and Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara. Orders are due by November 17thand will be available for pick up at the Batavia Mercy Flight Base on December 9th

 

September 7, 2011 - 7:40am
posted by Bill Schutt in Batavia Downs, batavia country club, golf, Mercy Flight.
On Sept 14th Mercy Flight and the Batavia Downs will host the 3rd Annual "Hackers for Helicopters" fund raiser at the Batavia Country Club. This year’s event will also host a "Fire/EMS Challenge" where first responder foursomes will compete for a Trophy, Helicopter landing and all important bragging rights. Come on out and enjoy a day of golf at beautiful Batavia Country Club, dinner and drinks at the Downs and all important fundraising for your favorite community based non-profit. http://www.mercyflight.org/event/100046/hackers-for-helicopters
August 30, 2011 - 9:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Mercy Flight.

It's $6.5 million worth of life-saving machinery and now it's based in Batavia.

Mercy Flight #5 was officially dedicated at the Genesee County Airport on Tuesday morning.

The Bell 429 helicopter equipped with state-of-the-art technology was paid for with a $3 million loan from the USDA and a USDA-guaranteed loan from M&T Bank.

Without the 20-year loan, instead of a traditional five- or six-year loan, said Margaret Ferrentino, CFO of Mercy Flight, there's no way the air and ground ambulance service could have afforded the new helicopter.

The dedication was attended by Mercy Flight and Mercy EMS staff, local elected officials and a variety of local emergency and law enforcement representatives.

Mercy Flight #5 will serve Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

The new helicopter was blessed by Rev. John Gaglione, left, pictured with Mercy Flight CEO Doug Baker and Sister Sheila Marie Walsh.

June 4, 2011 - 1:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, Mercy Flight.

On Father's Day June 19, Mercy Flight will host an open house at its Batavia base located at the Genesee County Airport from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Many local emergency service agencies, such as the Sheriff's Department (child IDs), NY State Police (rollover simulator), Lake Plains Community Health Care and Genesee County Emergency Management will be joining us.

It will be a great day to bring dad out for pancakes at the Rotary Club Fly-in Breakfast and then stop over and visit with Mercy Flight and local emergency responders.

In addition to the open house, Mercy Flight, in partnership with The Batavia Downs, will be hosting the first "Cars and Guitars for Mercy Flight" event on July 9. This all-day event will feature a car and motorcycle show in the infield along with four great bands: The Buffalo
Roadshow; the Trolls; The Coupe de Villes, and Savage Cabbage.

Great food will be available and all attendees (over 18) will receive $5 casino free play. Car show pre-registration is available online at www.mercyflight.org

To wrap up the summer, Mercy Flight and Batavia Downs will again be hosting the Hackers for Helicopters golf outing. This will be the third year for the event, which will include golfing at the Batavia Country Club and dinner at Batavia Downs.

Mercy Flight greatly appreciates all the support we receive from the community, without which we could not provide the service that we do. Mercy Flight is always grateful of donations such as raffle baskets, door prizes, gift cards, etc. to use at our fundraising events.

Anyone wishing to donate can contact Bill Schutt, the Batavia base outreach coordinator at 356-2926 or email at [email protected]

June 3, 2011 - 7:16am
posted by Bill Schutt in Mercy Flight, open house, father's day.
Event Date and Time: 
June 19, 2011 - 9:00am to 2:00pm

Mercy Flight Events in Batavia

On Father’s Day June 19thMercy Flight will be hosting an Open House at our Batavia Base located at the Genesee County Airport from 9:00 until 2:00. Many local emergency service agencies, such as the Sheriff’s Department (child ID’s), NY State Police (rollover simulator), Lake Plains Community Health Care and Genesee County Emergency Management will be joining us. It will be a great day to bring dad out for pancakes at the Rotary Club Fly in Breakfast and then stop over and visit with Mercy Flight and local emergency responders.

June 2, 2011 - 10:42am
posted by Bill Schutt in music, golf, Mercy Flight, open house, Car Show.

Mercy Flight Events in Batavia

On Father’s Day June 19thMercy Flight will be hosting an Open House at our Batavia Base located at the Genesee County Airport from 9:00 until 2:00. Many local emergency service agencies, such as the Sheriff’s Department (child ID’s), NY State Police (rollover simulator), Lake Plains Community Health Care and Genesee County Emergency Management will be joining us. It will be a great day to bring dad out for pancakes at the Rotary Club Fly in Breakfast and then stop over and visit with Mercy Flight and local emergency responders.

In addition to the open house Mercy Flight in partnership with The Batavia Downs will be hosting the 1stannual Cars and Guitars for Mercy Flight event on July 9th. This all day event will feature a car and motorcycle show in the infield along with four great bands, The Buffalo Roadshow, the Trolls, The coupe de Villes and Savage Cabbage.  Great food will be available and all attendees (over 18) will receive $5 casino free play. Car show pre-registration is available online at www.mercyflight.org

To wrap up the summer Mercy Flight and The Batavia Downs will again be hosting the Hackers for Helicopters Golf outing.  This will be the 3rdyear for the event which will include Golfing at the Batavia Country Club and dinner at the Batavia Downs.

Mercy Flight greatly appreciates all the support we receive from the community, without which we could not provide the service that we do. Mercy Flight is always grateful of donations such as raffle baskets, door prizes, gift cards etc. to use at our fund raising events. Anyone wishing to donate can contact Bill Schutt the Batavia Base Outreach Coordinator at (585) 356-2926 or [email protected]

May 31, 2011 - 7:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Mercy Flight, UMMC.

City firefighters have been dispatched to the parking lot of UMMC to set up a landing zone for Mercy Flight.

The nature of the medical call is not known.

March 4, 2011 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mercy Flight.

Mercy Flight will receive a USDA-backed loan to purchase a new state-of-the-art helicopter to be based in Batavia.

The $3 million loan was announced by Sen. Charles Schumer.

Mercy Flight will purchase a Bell 429 helicopter that will replace two older 1970s-era helicopters in the current fleet.

Genesee County and Mercy Flight recently signed a long-term lease for its facilities at the Genesee County Airport to help Mercy Flight secure the loan.

The new helicopter is expected to be in service in June.

January 19, 2011 - 8:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mercy Flight, Genesee County Airport.

In order to secure a federal grant for a new helicopter, Mercy Flight apparently needs a long-term lease for its facility at the Genesee County Airport.

During Tuesday's Public Service Committee meeting, Legislator Ray Cianfrini said he's concerned that the proposed terms of the lease are not in the county's best interest.

The proposed lease would cap rent increases at 2 percent per year and Cianfrini is concerned that in the future, the county could be losing out on a good deal of potential revenue.

"It just seems to me that 25 years down the road, this could be a pittance compared to what other people are paying for similar space," Cianfrini said. "I don't ever want to lose Mercy Flight. They're a tremendous asset. But as a lawyer, as a legislator and as a taxpayer, I think it's a horrible lease for Genesee County."

David Wozniak, deputy superintendent of county highways, pointed out that Mercy Flight leases additional space for its ambulance service which isn't tied to the hangar lease. Mercy Flight owns its own hangar, and plans to build a new one, and leases the land it sits on. Also, there's no cap on the price of fuel Mercy Flight buys from the county.

The terms of the lease require a mutual agreement to renew every five years, but because of a discrepancy between the lease language and supporting documents provided to legislators, a vote on the lease was tabled and the matter was referred to the Ways and Means Committee.

Ways and Means meets today at 4 o'clock in the Old Courthouse.

September 7, 2010 - 10:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, Mercy Flight, ambulance.

(UPDATED 12:48 p.m.)

It's been a year since Mercy EMS was established in Genesee County, and during that time Mercy has responded to 4,767 calls in the county.

During the same period, Mercy Flight has been put in the air for medical missions 92 times. There were 166 requests for the helicopter.

In the prior 12 months in Genesee County there were 151 requests and 83 flights.

"As you can see there was no significant change in air transports," said Mercy VP Margaret Ferrentino in an e-mail response to a question about comparable data. "This data along with results of our internal system wide utilization reviews supports appropriate use of resources."

In a statement, Ferrentino said: "We are extremely proud of the men and women at Mercy EMS; their commitment to the community and their dedication to our mission has been outstanding.

“We value the partnerships that have developed with the hospital and agencies throughout the county. The resulting teamwork allows us to effectively provide critical service to those who live, work or play in Genesee County.”

Mercy employs 51 people and has seven ambulances and three paramedic cars in service in Genesee County. 

When Mercy EMS launched on Sept. 1, 2009, the organization hired 57 people. Of those, 43 are still with Mercy.

From the press release:

“To support our patient care focus, we continue to add equipment assets and strive to provide the best work environment possible for our employees,” said Douglas H. Baker, Mercy Flight’s CEO and founding president.

August 30, 2010 - 6:50pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, events, golf, terry hills, Mercy Flight.
Event Date and Time: 
September 15, 2010 - 11:00am to 7:00pm

Batavia Downs Casino will be hosting its second annual "Hackers for Helicopters" golf tournament from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The tourney will take place at the Terry Hills Golf Course, at 5122 Clinton St. Road in Batavia.

The proceeds will go to Mercy Flight Western New York. For more information -- including registration, cost, features, etc. -- go to:

August 12, 2010 - 12:09pm
posted by WBTA News in accident, motorcycle, Mercy Flight, car.

There has been a car-motorcycle accident in the area of 2687 Judge Road in Alabama.

A Mercy EMS ambulance is responding while a Mercy Flight is in the air and on its way.

UPDATE (12:25): The patient is not being Mercy Flighted, but is on the way to UMMC.

August 10, 2010 - 3:30pm
posted by WBTA News in crash, traffic, Mercy Flight.

One man is in critical condition today after the car he was riding in collided with a tow truck driven by a Batavia man.

On Monday, 24-year-old Jacob A. Staskiewicz of Batavia-Bethany Townline Road was apparently driving a tow truck on Maxon Road for A.J.'s Tow Service of Attica. Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies say Staskiewicz failed to stop for a sign at the intersection with Route 20A. He drove into the path of a 2008 Buick driven by 49-year-old Michael J. Lauber of Buffalo.

Lauber's backseat passenger, 62-year-old Richard A. Kosha, sustained serious head trauma in the ensuing collision. He was Mercy Flighted to Erie County Medical Center and is in critical condition today.

Lauber and his front-seat passenger, 59-year-old Garrick D. James, were taken by ambulance to ECMC for neck and arm pain.

Jacob Staskiewicz was not injured in the crash. He has been issued a traffic summons for alleged failure to stop at a stop sign.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.



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May 21, 2010 - 11:22pm

Tonight I attended the COVA "Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance" Open House at their headquarters in Albion NY.  Over 150 people were on hand during this occational rainy event to give thanks to all EMT's, Mercy flight, Volunteers, etc. Much of the information is on the website at :www.covaems.com/

I interviewed EMT Patrick Lamka and asked the question, What is COVA?

Here is a quick video of Mercyflight taking off:

Many photos during this event:

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Lots of people on hand even though it poured at times but a great turnout !

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Yummy popcorn and activities for kids.

3.JPG

Some staff members ...

4.JPG

One of the ambulances from the fleet.

5.JPG

The newest ambulance to the fleet, not yet lettered.  Just arrived.

6.JPG

Patrick Lamka and Tricia Warren

7.JPG

posing near the Mercyflight helicopter ...

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The 2010 COVA staff

They thanked everyone who came to support, donate and attend tonight's open house.  Providng services to help others in emergency needs.

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