Care Flight’s Gardnerville base marks 25 years of bringing critical emergency care to rural areas

Care Flight, a service of REMSA Health, has transported critically ill and injured patients across northern Nevada and northeastern California since 1981. Care Flight Photo

The following is a statement from Vanessa Coyle, director of operations for Care Flight.

Care Flight, a service of REMSA Health, has transported critically ill and injured patients across northern Nevada and northeastern California since 1981.

Over the years as the region grew, the need for additional air ambulance services grew as well. In 1999, Care Flight completed its first expansion of service, establishing operations for a second rotor-wing aircraft, Care Flight 2, at the helipad located at Carson Valley Medical Center – now Carson Valley Health Hospital – in Gardnerville, Nevada.

On Monday, April 15, 2024, Care Flight’s Gardnerville base, one of four bases that Care Flight’s rotor-wing aircraft now operate from, marks 25 years of service. 

The opening of this base increased access to critical, life-saving medical care for more rural communities. In celebrating this anniversary, we recognize the significant contributions that our providers have made in caring for patients and residents across the expansive region that Care Flight 2 serves, including eastern Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe and northern and central Nevada. 

The geographic area that the base serves is vast, diverse and requires highly-specialized pilot and crew training. In the span of one shift, providers onboard Care Flight 2 can fly from remote, forested Alpine environments to desert landscapes dotted with sagebrush.

The region is also home to several ski resorts, hiking trails, mountain biking trails and outdoor adventures, so this base is vital to ensuring residents and visitors have access to emergency medical services.

Prior to my current role as director of operations for Care Flight, I worked as a flight paramedic and as a base supervisor at the Gardnerville base. It holds a special place in my heart, as it does for many Care Flight crew members both past and present. 

As we look back at Care Flight’s 25 years of providing emergency medical care from Gardnerville, this legacy would not be possible without our remarkable, long-standing partnership with Carson Valley Health.

Carson Valley Health Hospital offers a dedicated space for Care Flight crews, including a flight nurse, a flight paramedic and a pilot, to use when they’re not responding to a call, which ensures that our team members can rest, refuel and remain prepared for the next call. As a non-profit organization, this support from Carson Valley Health Hospital is vital and on behalf of REMSA Health and Care Flight, I extend my sincere gratitude for their continued partnership.

Celebrating this milestone offers a time for our Care Flight team to come together and recognize the tremendous contributions they make to our communities and the impact they have on people’s lives.

Choosing a career at this intersection of healthcare, public safety and public service is unlike any other. It’s inspiring to see the legacy of our Care Flight organization evolve each day, with each call and every patient.

I look forward to our team continuing to provide critical, life-saving care across the regions and communities we serve for many years to come.

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