Sunday, March 09, 2008


Elyria – While most people on Saturday were shoveling, sledding, plowing or just sitting at home by a warm fire, there were a small group of highly dedicated good Samaritans out braving the blizzard conditions – helping the helpers.

Deep in the basement of the Lorain County Emergency Management Office on Gateway Blvd. in Elyria, a group of Jeep enthusiasts came together for one goal – Pick up Nurses and Doctors from their homes and get them to work at area hospitals.

Tom Kelley, Director of the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security, said that this is the fourth year that their agency has offered the service to local hospitals. “This is a unique program that we have been offering and its something that started four years ago when a hospital called me during a winter storm and said I need to get nurses into the ER but they are stuck at home.”

Kelley drafted the services of a friend who owns “On & Offroad 4 Wheel Drive” in Oberlin who then drafted the services of friends and customers with Jeeps and other 4 wheel-drive vehicles.

Here’s how it works –
A hospital supervisor contacts the EMA office and gives them the names and addresses of essential staff members that need a ride to work. Kelley and his staff coordinate the drivers and dispatch them to pick people up. The teams of drivers go out twice – the first run goes at 10 AM and the second at 10PM.

Kelley said that they have tightened the policy for the special service by limiting it to essential staff only. “We were getting calls for housekeeping personnel to be picked up and we just can’t do that, I mean these people are coming in and volunteering their time and putting themselves and their vehicles at risk to drive across the county in blizzard conditions to provide a ride and with that we need to assure them that they are doing this for a good reason.”

Today went off without a hitch, well one small hitch did occur. One of the drivers, while attempting to pick up a nurse off of Fowl Road got his truck stuck in deep snow. Two other volunteers raced to rescue him but were unable to get him out of the drift. So when you are deep in a hole and you don’t know what to do, who do you call? VAUGHNS of course! TMC NEWS Gold Card member David Vaughn of Vaughn’s Towing and Auto Services was called and quickly responded to the scene. The driver of the stuck truck wanted to compliment Vaughn for his quick response and hard work getting his truck out of the snow. I guess you could say Vaughn was helping a helper who was trying to help a helper.

Kelley said that he will hit the roads early Sunday morning to see if travel is better, if not then they may offer the service to area hospitals again Sunday. “I have been out checking the streets around here (Elyria) and have been impressed at how well the city has been clearing the main streets. I don’t think there will be any problems in the morning, these guys can probably sleep in tomorrow.”

At last count, 6 drivers throughout the day transported 30 people. KUDOS to Kelley, his staff and all of the volunteers who braved the blizzard to lend a hand. I’m sure if you were to ask them why they do it they would say, “It’s a Jeep thing.”


Blogger silverdud said...

as a jeep owner myself i would like to give a friendly jeep wave to all the guys who helped out. it truly IS a jeep thing.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless!

6:43 PM  

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