SUMNER — More than 100 people gathered at the fire station to watch LifeFlight land at the dedication ceremonies for the new helipad. It took eight minutes for the trip from Lewiston.
Wilda Dunham, president of the Ladies Auxiliary, along 15 other members, had raised $30,000 over the past five years through bake sales, yard sales, cake sales and anything-that-sold sales.
“We did it like LifeFlight said it should be done,” Dunham said proudly as she looked at the pad behind the town office and fire station on state Route 219.
Tom Judge, executive director for LifeFlight and the LifeFlight Foundation, was present for the event. He said that there were 260,000 answered calls on 911 in Maine last year, and 191,000 of those were transports.
“This helipad is just another extension of the fire department for help in the community,” Judge said.
“We are really excited about everything a community can do that involves safety and reliability. This is really important to the patients being transported. Seeing rural communities putting a helipad into their infrastructure like this is great,” Judge added.
Judge said there were only 30 or 40 pads like this in Maine. He presented a check for $1,500 to the Auxiliary from the foundation.
Dunham. along with selectpersons Mark Silber and Mary Ann Haxton and fire Chief Robert Stewart, thanked all the supporters for coming out for the event.
Silber said it had taken several years, but the Auxiliary was persistent in raising the money. Haxton said she admired the coordination it took for the Auxiliary to coordinate so many fundraising events.
The helipad was dedicated to Carolyn Litchfield, a longtime Auxiliary member, who passed away last year.
Representatives from Tri Town Ambulance and Buckfield Rescue and Norway Fire were present.
Bob Walder and Fred Campbell, two former fire chiefs, were also at the celebration. Walder said he remembered how several volunteers started cutting the timber from the site over five years ago. He said contractors started bringing their extra fill to the site as well.
Already the Auxiliary has started raising money for a wind sock with a yard sale scheduled for the first Saturday in June to be held at the fire station.