Air Ambulance and Charter service fill a void on the Gulf Coast

By Melanie LeCroy
Posted 7/31/19

When Joe Todor moved to the Gulf Coast in 2017, he recognized a void. The Emerald Coast needed an air ambulance and charter service, and he started putting a plan in place to make it happen. …

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Air Ambulance and Charter service fill a void on the Gulf Coast

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When Joe Todor moved to the Gulf Coast in 2017, he recognized a void. The Emerald Coast needed an air ambulance and charter service, and he started putting a plan in place to make it happen.

Todor went to school and received his rating in Baton Rouge in the late 1970’s and moved to Denver to start his own charter flight company. Over the past 40 years, Todor has flown for private charter and air ambulance companies between Colorado and Nebraska.

In 1994, Todor left aviation to start a construction business. After falling from a roof and shattering his heel bones, he decided to return to aviation. The cold weather was not kind to the arthritis in his ankles, so he sought out a warmer climate.

“I sold the house, sold the business, and moved down here,” he said.

That’s when he realized the opportunity for a new venture.

“I saw a need at this airport. I started flying this King Air for Wayne Robertson and noticed there was no charter or air ambulance in the area. Everybody that does it flies in from somewhere else like Miami or Arizona,” he said.

“This airplane is an asset for the Gulf Coast. We can go to Birmingham to take someone to MD Anderson or Tallahassee to fly someone to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Most of our trips will probably be three-legged. We can go 330 mph, and our range is about 850 miles when you put that on a map and draw a circle that encompasses many areas. That includes up into Ohio, Key West, Central Texas,” Todor said.

Charter Air and Intensive Air Care happens to be a reincarnation of the first air ambulance service Todor flew for in Colorado. It was sold in 1991, but Todor received permission from the former owner to use the name. Once he knew what he would call the company, he assembled a team.

Todor began searching for a person that possessed both a medical and marketing background. He found her at his local doctor’s office. Bethany Kottsick, experience there made her a perfect fit for the job.

Chief Flight Nurse, Michelle Sherrod, was the next to join the crew. Sherrod has been a registered nurse in emergency medicine for 15 years, with many years’ experience working critical care transport. Her knowledge and expertise were vital.

“We are a flying ambulance and have everything you need on a regular ambulance except trauma. We have respiratory bags, IV bags. Anything can happen, and we are prepared, including if a patient went into cardiac arrest,” Sherrod said.

Dr. Jeff Pierson is the medical sponsor and is responsible all patients on board. He worked closely with Sherrod to put together an extensive protocol book for the inflight medical team.

In total, Intensive Air Care has a crew that includes five emergency room registered nurses, five paramedics, and one physician.

“We can mobilize in 24 hours. Once we are here, we can get all of the equipment loaded into the plane in 30 minuntes. The King Air B200 can carry one patient, medical crew, and up to four family members. For private charter we can fly nine people,” Todor said.

After 11 months of developing manuals, training programs, and business organization development Todor was awarded a certificate by the FAA and his King Air B200 is stationed at Jack Edwards Airport, ready to serve.