Mercy Health Love County - News

Hospital, EMS, Trust Work Together On Ambulance Purchase

Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

A shiny new ambulance is scheduled for delivery at Mercy Health/Love County EMS in August. 

The vehicle, which will replace an older model, will keep the fleet at five modern, full life support ambulances. Three will be on duty daily to speed paramedics to the aid of seriously injured or ill residents and visitors to the county, and two will be on standby.
All of the vehicles are equipped with diesel engines and none has more than 100,000 miles of usage, an enviable distinction for the EMS among small counties in Oklahoma.
Acquiring the ambulance has been a joint project of Love County EMS, the hospital, which manages the EMS, and the Wilkins Estate Trust, which is operated for the benefit of the hospital by the Love County Commissioners.
Under the arrangement, the hospital requested the Commissioners to purchase the ambulance with funds from the trust. Love County EMS will repay the trust, interest-free, with collections from the percentage of sales tax that the EMS district receives monthly.
“We have used a pass-through loan from the Wilkins Estate Trust to purchase ambulances several times. It is a nice solution for our need to update the fleet on a planned basis,” explained Richard Barker, hospital administrator.
“Thanks to the cooperation of all of the public agencies and their citizen boards, we have ambulances for the every-day operation of the two EMS stations, plus stand-by response for catastrophic emergencies in any of our communities.”
The Wilkins Estate Trust is the gift of Chester C. Wilkins of Marietta.
Wilkins (1891-1982) was a prominent Marietta attorney and civic leader.
In addition to his law practice in Wilkins and Wilkins, a firm started by his father in 1910, Chester Wilkins served as mayor of Marietta from 1923-1929. He held the office of Associate District Judge from 1969 to 1977.
He was appointed to the Marietta Water Company Board of Directors in 1959, the year it was established. He served continuously as a director until a few years before his death.
Wilkins was unmarried. He was close to his brother, Grider, and his sister, Hettie (Locke), and they shared the family’s stately, 2-story home at 300 E. Main. Grider died in 1972. Hettie died in 1983.
Investments, along with revenues from oil and gas production form the bulk of Wilkins’ estate, a major beneficiary of which was the hospital that had opened in 1972.
“He loved the hospital. He formed a strong allegiance because of the care he had received there,” recalled Marietta Monitor publisher Willis Choate, who was mayor during the time Wilkins was active in civic life.
Wilkins’ gift has resulted in several capital purchases since 1982. One of the most notable is the ultrasound scanner in the radiology department, acquired through a $100,000 grant in 2004.
Projects paid for by the Wilkins trust fund income are subject to approval by the Board of Love County Commissioners, which holds the trust for the benefit of the hospital.
A plaque memorializing Chester Wilkins is on display in the hospital lobby.