La Vernia EMS loses funding, will be replaced by crew based in Stockdale

A week after Wilson County Commissioners cut off funding and diverted calls from La Vernia EMS, the county leadership is poised to approve a deal for new EMS providers.

LA VERNIA - Wilson County is moving forward without a group of first responders who were among the first to help during the Sutherland Springs church shooting.

It's been a week since Wilson County commissioners held an emergency meeting to cut off funding for La Vernia EMS.

La Vernia EMS is a volunteer organization that was the first to be dispatched to Sutherland Springs when a gunman opened fire, killing 26 people and injuring almost two dozen more on November 5.

On Monday, Wilson County Commissioners will meet again, this time to take action on an agreement to have Emergency Services District No. 3 take over emergency medical service in the La Vernia area.

ESD 3 is headquartered in Stockdale, which is about 14 miles away from La Vernia.

For the last two weeks, the state has provided two EMS units from Bexar County and San Antonio to cover La Vernia EMS calls.

La Vernia EMS board president Paul Brunner said that they offered the assistance to help relieve volunteers who needed a break after working the Sutherland Springs tragedy.

Earlier this week County Judge Richard Jackson refused to give KENS 5 specific details as to why funding for La Vernia EMS was cut off, only saying a number of problems needed to be addressed before the agency would be considered again for funding.

Brunner says he knows what County Commissioners want.

"They would like me to resign, personally," Brunner said.

Critics of Brunner's leadership say La Vernia EMS did not have an active license to provide service.
Brunner says that's not true.

Brunner sent KENS 5 an email from a representative at the Texas Department of State Health Services who stated, "there are multiple renewal applications in front of La Vernia. You will receive a continuance so that you can operate business as usual, but it will not be reflected online for a few weeks, at the earliest."

Regardless, Jackson says taxpayers in La Vernia will not experience a lapse in coverage.

Since Wilson County commissioners cut off funding for La Vernia EMS, approximately $26,500, all emergency calls have been handled by other agencies.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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