Called Miles for Memories, the program was the brainchild of Sumner EMS medic and instructor Marie Blevins, but after her unexpected death in 2013, the program stalled, and was forgotten about.
Now paramedic Jessica Nuckols has taken the reigns to renew the program for area hospice patients. EMS volunteers will offer a one-hour, non-emergency transport to these patients anywhere in the county free of charge as long as staff is able to carry them and get them in and out safely on a stretcher.
“Whether it’s going to the park, a graduation, going to see their pets, dinner out, or having a beautiful day and picnic – it gives the families something to remember rather than them just going home and dying,” she said. “It just gives the patient and the family a memory of something good.”
Nuckols knows first-hand the impact something like this can have. After finding out from Blevins that the program was about to get started, her mother, Rosalind was the first and to date, the only patient to take advantage of it before she died in 2012.
“At the time, we were going through hospice with my mother and she couldn’t get out and do a lot of things,” she said. “One of the last things I got to do with her is take her to Bledsoe (State Park). A crew came out and took her. That was one of the last times she ever felt the sun on her face. We got to talk and laugh and just rest.
“Hospice is such a hard thing to talk about and for her to be able to just get out to the park – to this day I still remember that.”
Nuckols said she wants to get the word out that Miles for Memories is up and running again.
“Marie was such a good influence – she came up with this program and got sick and couldn’t get it out there,” she said. “It’s been kind of forgotten about and it’s such a great program. People don’t know about it and we want to families to know it’s there for them.”
Those interested in the program can call the non-emergency transportation number at (615) 451-6069. Several days of notice are required.