August 07, 2002 11:00 pm

With the hiring of Bill Barns as La Grande membership representative, Air Life of Oregon is prepared to serve Northeast Oregon with full-time medical air transport.

Barns' duties include promoting the Air Life and Medic One ground transportation membership programs throughout the area. The territory includes Union and Wallowa counties and Condon and Heppner.

Barns is responsible for all aspects of public relations for the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Air Life service.

The membership program is designed to help protect consumers against steep out-of-pocket medical transportation costs.

"Presentations at area service clubs, live interviews on morning radio shows, newsprint and radio ad campaigns and management of our educational volunteer staff are typical activities," Barns said.

Barns has a background as a multiple business owner, teacher, trainer, seminar presenter, service club president, Coast Guard Search and Rescue air crewman, and Air Life volunteer.

"The new La Grande fixed-wing base is a huge benefit to the people of Northeast Oregon," Barns said.

"Yet, I've discovered that relatively few people know that within 10 minutes or so, La Grande residents can be on a 320 mph high-performance aircraft with highly trained medical staff transporting them in a medical emergency or for an upgrade in medical care," he said.

"My job is to get the word out so more people can enjoy the financial savings."

Barns can be reached at 541-786-3493. The Air Life membership office is at 1-800-353-0497.