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White awaits decision

WINTON – The saga continues.

For more than five years, the decision to offer a franchise to White Oak Medical Transport from Askewville has been one that has taken twists and turns.

Late in May, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners tabled a recommendation from the committee they appointed to oversee franchise requests for non-emergency medical transport.

County Manager Loria D. Williams said she disagreed with the committee’s recommendation to grant White Oak a franchise in Hertford County and, on a motion from Commissioner Dupont L. Davis, the board tabled the decision after accepting every other recommendation of the committee.

On Monday, Ricky White, the owner and president of White Oak Medical Transport, appeared before the board to ask them to approve the franchise agreement.

“Thank you for letting me come here and talk to you,” he said. “I am asking that you consider granting the franchise for White Oak.”

White said he had no intention of trying take business from those non-emergency transports that are already approved (Bertie Ambulance Service and Hertford County EMS), but rather wanted to offer additional service.

“We receive calls on a weekly basis from Hertford County,” he said. “Most of those are calls from the hospital from people we transported there, but we cannot carry them back because we don’t have a franchise.”

White said his business operated 24 hours per day, seven days a week. He also said they were in the process of possibly going to paramedic level.

“If you give us a chance, I give you my word we will do the best job we can for the citizens of Hertford County,” White said.

Commissioner Johnnie R. Farmer asked how many ambulances White Oak had operational. White said eight at the time and one more which will be added soon.

Commission Chairman Howard J. Hunter III asked how far along in improving to paramedic status the company had gotten. White said they were still in the process, but had four paramedics at the time and that number would go to eight later this year.

Commissioner John E. Pierce asked if White Oak would help in an emergency situation if they were granted a franchise and White said they would.

“If we had a catastrophe, say for example, two school busses were in an accident, how fast could you respond,” Pierce asked.

White said they could be on scene in Ahoskie in 15-18 minutes.

Davis asked if White Oak was fully staffed and White said they did, adding that he would be on the truck himself if he were needed.

After the discussion, Hunter said the board would take the matter under advisement.