First responders of Sutherland Springs shooting lose funding

The La Vernia EMS is now closed.

LA VERNIA - They were the first group of medical responders dispatched to the Sutherland Springs church shooting.

But now, La Vernia EMS is closed and their calls are going to another agency.

Wilson County Commissioners had an emergency meeting on Thursday.  

The only item they discussed was funding for the La Vernia EMS.

Commissioners voted to de-fund La Vernia EMS.

As a result, $26,500 a year is now gone.

"It's effective pretty much immediately," said Wilson County Judge Richard Jackson.

Jackson won't say why.

"We answered that in a letter and I'm not going to disclose any of this right now," said Jackson.

The judge says they will not release the letter to KENS 5.

As for why the Judge and Commissioners called an emergency meeting just to discuss La Vernia EMS, Jackson said, "La Vernia EMS had already contracted to get ambulance units from the state to take care of their area. That right there tells you there was some kind of emergency, something happened."

The president of the La Vernia EMS board, Paul Brunner, says a massacre, minutes away in Sutherland Springs is the emergency that happened.

The state funded EMS units covering calls are temporarily providing relief for exhausted, distressed first responders.

"It was about the patients, it was about the people the entire time," said Brunner.

Brunner told KENS 5 County leaders gave him vague reasons for pulling the contract.

Brunner believes La Vernia EMS is being punished because he's vocal and speaks up.

"If you don't go along, get along with whatever comes down the pike then you become a circled person now this person is a quote problem," said Brunner.

Brunner says this is all political and the citizens are the ones who will suffer. 

"We're not motivated by power or position or anything like that. Our only reason to want to be in a position is for that (points toward Sutherland Springs.) To literally be there at that time when you're needed," said Brunner.

Judge Jackson said if the leadership at La Vernia EMS can fix the identified problems, County Commissioners will be more than willing to reconsider funding the agency again. 

Jackson emphasized no citizens are going without appropriate coverage.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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