Valley Med Flight hosts open house at new hangar

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Valley Med Flight Flight RN/Paramedic Luke Racine, left, and Pilot Nikita Wilson, right, are pictured in front of the AStar helicopter used by Valley Med Flight in Escanaba Friday.

ESCANABA — Since November 2016, Valley Med Flight, provider of air medical transportation services, has operated out of a new hangar on the OSF St. Francis Hospital and Medical Group campus. Members of the public were given an opportunity to tour the hangar during an open house event Friday.

Valley Med Flight has had a presence in Escanaba since 2014, but according to Business Development Specialist Tami Evavold, it was previously based at Delta County Airport.

Construction on a new Valley Med Flight hangar at OSF St. Francis started in August 2016, and the facility has been operational since November.

“They got it completed in … two and a half months,” Evavold said.

Pilot Nikita Wilson said that being on OSF’s campus has been helpful for Valley Med Flight.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “This facility is state-of-the-art, and it helps with our response times.”

OSF St. Francis Community Relations Specialist Lindsay Stearns said the hospital has also appreciated having Valley Med Flight on their campus.

“I think that it’s a great benefit for our patients, especially those that need to be transported to the next level of care,” she said.

Kelly Jefferson, the hospital’s vice president of operations, said she has been happy to work with Valley Med Flight.

“It’s a great resource to have within our community,” she said. “They’ve been wonderful partners.”

At the open house event, visitors were able to tour the hangar and get an up-close look at the AStar ­helicopter used by Valley Med Flight in Escanaba. They were also able to see the facility’s office space and the upstairs living quarters for Valley Med Flight’s staff.

Base Coordinator Patrick Siegle said that, in addition to giving people a chance to tour Valley Med Flight’s new facility, this event allowed visitors to connect with the people working there.

“They get to meet with the crews — understand what our role is in the community,” he said.

Evavold said she hopes that this event helps to give people a better understanding of Valley Med Flight.

“We want … everyone to get to know us as a whole,” she said.