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Rotary honors Ransom, Veterans

By Staff | Nov 14, 2014

The Shepherdstown Rotary celebrated Veteran’s Day Tuesday at their weekly meeting by sharing the time with several Veterans, including many from Shepherd University. In addition, the group presented Police Chief David Ransom with the Vocational Service Award, an award given to a member of the community who embodies the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”

When presenting the plaque to Ransom, Rotarian Holly Morgan-Frye shared her thoughts on the Chief and why he deserved to be the recipient of the honor.

“Chief Ransom truly engages in a useful occupation,” Morgan-Frye said, which is one of the principles sought when choosing a Vocational Service winner. He truly puts service above self, Morgan-Frye continued. She expressed that Veteran’s Day was a fitting day to present the award because Ransom is also a Veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in the Gulf War.

“It is a privilege to call him my friend and an honor to present this award,” she said.

Ransom was humbled by the award and gave all credit to his officers, the Mayor he serves and the supportive community in which he lives.

“I am pretty much speechless,” he said, which, he joked, is a rare occurrence.

Following the presentation of the award, those in attendance were treated to a presentation by Col. Randy Dell, U.S. Air Force, speaking about the aeromedical division of the military.

“I don’t know where I would be without the military,” Dell shared.

Dell, during his military career, worked with the Aerovac units who are responsible for flying into danger zones to get wounded soldiers to hospitals. His talk Tuesday told the history of those who have flown patients out going all the way back to 1870 when hot air balloons were used during the Prussian War.

Advances through history saw air transports that took patients, carrying them on the outside of the planes, then in helicopters up to cargo planes that could transport up to 18 or 20 patients.

During World War II, Dell said, there were 1.34 million air medical evacuations. During the Civil War, he said, survival rates for soldiers removed from the field was about 50 percent. Today, wounded soldiers have a survival rate of more than 85 percent.

Dell not only served, but was served when he was transported in an aerovac unit after being wounded.

“It took 48 hours to get me to Walter reed compared to Vietnam when it took 45 days or more to get stateside,” Dell said. Temporarily blinded when wounded, Dell attributes his eyesight returning to the fast and efficient evacuation by the medical crews.

Slides of the aircraft show that today’s evacuation units are basically a flying intensive care unit.

“It’s not a plane you ever want to get on, but if you need it, you want to be on one of these,” Dell said.