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Rescue squad brings families together

December 26, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

Phyllis Adams got her Christmas wish Thursday with a special delivery by members of the Community Rescue Service.

"I wanted my mother home for Christmas. I always prayed and I knew God would grant my wish," said Adams, of 456 Sumans Ave., with her mother Anna Adams sitting nearby.

Earlier this year, Anna Adams became ill and has been living in the Colton Villa Nursing Center at 750 Dual Highway. On Christmas morning she came to her daughter's home thanks to personnel from the ambulance squad.

"They asked me if I wanted to come home for Thanksgiving and I said, 'No. I'd rather be home for Christmas.' Especially to see my grandchildren open their presents. It's such a joy," Anna Adams said.

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Brent Bankson, a paramedic with Community Rescue, said the decision of who would be transported home for the holiday was left to the nursing homes.

"We wanted to make sure the people had no other alternative to be with their families," he said.

It was up to the nursing homes to determine whether the families would be able to care for the residents all day and whether their financial situation would make it a hardship for them to hire transportation.

"This is a really great idea. Anna is excited," Colton Villa Social Services Director Tish Stalnaker said earlier in the week.

Without the Community Rescue volunteers, Anna Adams might not have been able to be with her family. Phyllis Adams said no one in the family had a car that could accommodate her mother's wheelchair and it would have been expensive to hire a van.

Crews also took Ethel Wolfinger from Avalon Manor to her daughter's home and Mrs. Gil Grove from Ravenwood was taken to a friend's home, where she could be with her husband, Bankson said.

Anna Adams was joined for the holiday by four of her five children, their spouses and half of her 14 grandchildren, along with a few other friends and family that dropped in to visit.

They sat down to a meal of ham, rice, collard greens and cornbread. Anna Adams said the food at Colton Villa isn't bad, but it was nice to have some home cooking again, "especially those collard greens."

Anna Adams said her family and friends visit often at Colton Villa and she's made several friends there. Still, it was nice to be surrounded by family.

"I got a lot of nice goodies. Perfume, clothes and a lot of love from my children. It was a lovely holiday to be with my family," Anna Adams said.

Bankson said Community Rescue Administrator Ted Gossard gave them the idea to take the residents home. "He brought up that we had done this some years in the past," Bankson said.

Paramedics Donnie Lehman, Mark Miller and Mike Mooers, cardiac rescue technician Kim Benner, emergency medical technician Denise Ward and technician Charles Jacobs helped with the transports, Bankson said.

"It's a great example of what something like that can do for someone's spirits," Bankson said of Anna Adam's reunion with her family.

"It was a blessing that people were nice enough to bring her home for Christmas," said Phyllis Adams.

Bankson said the ambulance squad members hope to do this again at Easter and Thanksgiving.

"It makes you feel good to do something nice. It makes you want to do more of it," Bankson said.

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