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Life Force One Has New Base In Cleveland

Life Force One was officially welcomed to its new base in Cleveland on Wednesday. 

An open house will be held Saturday for the public, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the new Life Force hangar and crew quarters at the Cleveland Regional Jetport. Many Cleveland and Bradley County officials attended along with community organizations like the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority and business leaders.


Mayor Tom Rowland and Cleveland City Council members Avery Johnson, Charlie McKenzie and Dale Hughes were part of the city delegation. They greeted officials from the Erlanger Health System, MedTrans Corporation and Life Force.

Speakers included Robbie Tester, vice president of operations and administrator of Life Force; Dr. Donald Barker, Life Force medical director; Kevin Spiegal, president and CEO, Erlanger Health System; Rob Hamilton, MedTrans Corporation, president and CEO; D. Gary Davis, Bradley County Mayor; Tom Rowland, Cleveland Mayor.

Life Force has helicopter ambulances stationed at Winchester, Sparta and Cleveland plus Blue Ridge and Calhoun in Georgia, Mr. Tester said.

Life Force began operations in December, 1988 with a single helicopter based in Chattanooga, said Mr. Tester. One of the first patients was from the Cleveland area, he said. Moving the Life Force air ambulances, he said, puts them in strategic locations that bring care closer to the patients.

Mr. Spiegal applauded the partnerships of local governments, regional hospitals, emergency medical and fire services. "You are an integral part of life saving,"  he said.

Mayor Rowland said "I am so thankful our City Council voted to enter a partnership with MedTrans so our city residents can fly at no cost or a reduced cost to themselves. That's very important to our people."

Mayor Rowland added that Life Force One carries more patients than any other helicopter in the system due to its strategic location in the region.

Life Force has been an important part of Bradley County for a long time, Mayor Davis said. "Thank you for your commitment with a physical presence now in our community."

The ceremony began with the Cleveland Fire Department Honor Guard posting the colors and a prayer by Rev. Jeremy Lambert, Erlanger chaplain. Base Manager Derek Ball moderated the program.