The ribbon-cutting and dedication of a new Sullivan County EMS station are scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, August 20th. The newest station is dedicated to paramedic Carles Godsey, Jr. The station is located at Gibson Mill Road near Stone Drive .
This will be Station 8 for Sullivan County EMS. Land for the building was donated by the City of Kingsport. The groundbreaking ceremony was held a little over a year ago, in June of 2020.
The facility is part of a plan to renovate and build new facilities for Sullivan County EMS, as approved by the Sullivan County Commission. The plan includes renovating one building and building three others for the county emergency medical service.
The buildings are dedicated to EMS operations in the county, and will help the agency support its operations without cohabitating. Currently, the county agency has ambulances based with other agencies in some jurisdictions, as with Bluff City Rescue Squad in Bluff City, and the Kingsport Fire Department in their Colonial Heights station.
The Gibson Mill Road station is named and dedicated for Carles Godsey, Jr., known affectionately by all who knew him as "Junior". Godsey was a 13 year veteran of Sullivan County EMS, and a prominent member of the Kingsport Lifesaving Crew.
Mr. Godsey was a paramedic, and field training officer for the county, and served in numerous capacities at the Kingsport Lifesaving Crew. He held an array of credentials in emergency medical, specialty medical and rescue instruction. Godsey was also a part-time flight paramedic for Wings Air Rescue.
Godsey lost his life during a rescue mission, supporting the response efforts to the Carter County Floods in January 1998. It is very fitting that the station is configured to serve as the training center for Sullivan County EMS. Godsey would have been proud for the training center to be located in Kingsport.
The EMS Stations are built in new locations from their current post (Wilcox Drive and Industry Drive) for strategic response to call mapping. Gary Mayes, Director of the Sullivan County Health Department, who also oversees EMS, says emergency calls are mapped to determine the most feasible locations in the county to decrease response times.
The main Kingsport EMS station on Wilcox Drive was answering nearly a third of all calls (county-wide) for the agency. Building additional stations to split the difference in response makes sense. The Wilcox Drive station will be going back to the land-owner with the lease expiring soon. Another EMS station nears completion on the campus of the Sullivan County Health Department in Kingsport.
A third station is being configured in the Kingsport area on Wilcox Court. The current building is being renovated and configured to house the bulk of the non-emergency fleet. It will also function as the supply and storage cache for restocking ambulances in the city.
EMS Chief, Jim Perry, credits County Commissioner Mark A. Vance with pushing the project through. Vance and Mayes were both paramedics and leaders at Sullivan County EMS prior to their current roles in the Sullivan County government.
They have helped us secure three new stations in the Kingsport area, and are building a new station in the Bluff City area on Highway 11E.