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Local ambulance company offers free rides home for the holidays

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Even though getting home for the holidays could normally be a short drive, for many people in our valley, home may as well be a thousand miles away.

Nancy Lee is one of those people. She wanted to visit her family this Christmas, but she is wheelchair-bound, and cannot visit her family without assistance from medical professionals.

For people like Nancy, American Medical Response Ambulance Services spent their Christmas making sure others could enjoy time with family. AMR’s "Home for the Holidays" program has transported 1200 people for free during the past 30 years.

Nancy was chosen as one of 35 facility-bound people who received a free ride home for the holidays.

“It gives me happiness inside of me in saying, ‘Yes, we’ve done something well, and great for the community,’” said AMR Zac Ratner-Miller.

Miller says it feels incredible to see Nancy get what we all long for during the holidays: the touch of hands familiar, food stirring in a pot, the warm glow of a candle, and hugs. Lots of hugs.

These little luxuries are often taken for granted, but not by Nancy, who knows what her day would have been like without AMR’s help.

“Just sitting in the bed, looking at TV,” said Nancy. “I wouldn’t have been able to get here today. I appreciate you guys coming, because if it wasn’t for you guys, a lot of us wouldn’t be able to come home and enjoy Christmas with our families.”

AMR provided free medical transport to 35 people so they could go where holidays are the warmest home. Usually it costs more than a thousand dollars for a round trip transport. just this once, the fees are waived.

“My heart – I felt good. I really felt good,” said Nancy.

AMR’s Home for the Holidays program at both Christmas and Thanksgiving -- just a month ago, twenty bed bound people got to spend time with their families, cost-free.

RELATED | AMR takes patients home to their families for Thanksgiving

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