Michelle Byers said if it wasn’t for Air Methods, she wouldn’t be alive.

Byers suffered a stroke on Fathers Day in 2018. She went to Hardin Me­m­orial Hos­pital and was taken to University Hos­pital in Louisville by an Air Methods helicopter. While in the helicopter, she remembered Jill Mayfield, a flight nurse and the clinical base supervisor in Elizabethtown.

“She was so kind and talked to me so peacefully and so softly and just treated me like a human being,” Byers said.

Air Methods is a private helicopter company which provides air ambulance services. The company celebrated the 15th anniversary of its Elizabethtown presence Wednesday at the Elizabethtown Regional Airport with several public officials and staff members.

Since the incident, Byers said she periodically visits the local staff to check up on them and thank them.

“I can’t say enough about this program,” she said.

B.J. Sanders, a flight paramedic, said the duties of Air Methods include picking up a person, such as a crash victim, and transporting them to a hospital or transferring patients between hospitals. The company conducts 40 to 50 local flights a month, Sanders said. The staff consists of four pilots, four nurses and four paramedics.

Sanders said it was an honor to work with Air Methods.

“I feel like I’m giving back to the community by being here,” he said.

Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory, who spent more than 20 years in law enforcement, said he was appreciative of the air ambulance service in Hardin County.

Bryce Shumate, chief emergency services officer for Hardin County government, lauded the employees of Air Methods and the relationship it has with other emergency agencies.

“The professionals that are in there – it’s not folks, but it’s professionals,” Shumate said. “You’ve got a paramedic and a nurse that’s in there that bring so much more than the care that we can give on the ground sometimes, even though we’ve got some awesome paramedics and EMTs in Hardin County.”

Trey Crumbie can be reached at 270-505-1747 or tcrumbie@thenewsenterprise.com.

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