PumpkinFest gives lift to Life Flight

New York State Police attended PumpkinFest, providing Child Identification cards for the many children that attended. The Saranac Lake Fire Department had its 75-foot snorkel truck on display.

Chuck Pandolph, a flight nurse for North Country Life Flight for the past 20 years, said the strong turnout at PumpkinFest year after year shows how much the community sees a need to support their rescue service.

"People give back to us because we give to them," he said. "It's neighbors helping neighbors."

"They feel that, not only is it fun to come here, but it's important to come here," said North Country Life Flight pilot Steve Orman in agreement. "We've been around here long enough that if there's not a member of their family we've flown, there's a friend or a neighbor.

North Country Life Flight has flown more than 2,000 patients, Orman said, and with many of them having extended families, the emergency service has a widespread impact.

Keeseville resident Jan Washburn was on a flight nearly five years ago as a patient. Today, she serves as a regular volunteer for North Country Life Flight.

"Since they helped me, I try to help them," Washburn said, "to help them be ready for the next patient."

Sid Ward, Jr., a resident of Jay, was selling some of his hand-crafted wood cutting boards at PumpkinFest, using the proceeds to benefit North Country Life Flight.

"I've had several friends that have been flown," he said, noting how, as a member of the Rotary Club of AuSable Forks, he helped organize some of the first fundraising events for Life Flight. "It's a great operation."

Those interested in making a contribution to North Country Life Flight may do so by calling 891-6853 or sending donations in care of the organization to 49 Helms-Mueller Road, P.O. Box 994, Saranac Lake N.Y. 12983.

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