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1:54 PM Cottonwood Rescue Continues From Cottonwood

Rickey Stokes

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Posted by: RStokes
[email protected]
Date: Jul 05 2024 2:15 PM

COTTONWOOD:     1:54 PM    Cottonwood Rescue will continue to operate from it's original headquarters in Cottonwood.

The scheduled changing of providers for EMS coverage has been changed.

Mr. Beau Deatheridge, who also serves as Chief of Hodgesville Volunteer Fire Department has stepped up to the plate and fully assumes the duties of Cottonwood Ambulance and Rescue, Inc. at 4 PM today.

Rickey Stokes, the center of the controversy, and the current board members have resigned effective 4 PM today. Since last year there has been a plan with Ashford Rescue, Rehobeth Rescue and Pilcher Ambulance to assume the 130 square miles of Cottonwood Rescue territory. That plan was placed on hold last year when accusations were made by Houston County Commission Chairman Brandon Shoupe and WTVY Ken Curtis.

At the time of the report they were spreading lies.

The audit report completed by the Alabama State Auditors released their findings and they are saying that Rickey Stokes owes Cottonwood Rescue $ 155,000.00.

Rickey Stokes denies that. Taking over in late 2017 and operating through current, Stokes has served without compensation. But when Stokes took over Cottonwood Rescue in late 2017, Cottonwood Rescue had no money. Houston County gave around $ 20,000.00 a year in quarterly installments and that was it.

The businesses Stokes is involved with funded Cottonwood Rescue in excess of $ 100,000.00 in order for Cottonwood Rescue to provide emergency EMS service.

Seeing the need for funding, Stokes went to key players, drafted legislation for a $ 5.00 fee for tags earmarked for EMS. Stokes also designed the skeletan of the Houston County EMS Association, but let the members design the operating guidelines and bylaws. Stokes did not put himself on the EMS Board and only sit on the board when he had to.

The current Houston County Commission cut their funding to EMS. And quite frankly, there is not enough money to adequately fund EMS. Also the County Commission Association passed legislation that counties are not responsible for EMS coverage in the county. So with that legislation, county commissioners can care less about the people in the county having EMS coverage.

Stokes has tried several ways to exit since 2021. When asked, since 2021, when Stokes wanted out, the standard answer has always been "since yesterday".

Stokes departure is not because of the audit. Stokes stands firm that he can answer where the money is. Stokes departure is not because of any investigation by the Attorney General or District Attorney. Stokes departure is willingly and voluntarily, and Stokes has wanted out since 2021. Because running EMS is more difficult then one would think. And Stokes has to many irons in the fire to donate to it.

Stokes wishes Deathridge well and the men and women who have worked and will work in the future providing EMS coverage.

1:54 PM     Cottonwood Rescue Continues From Cottonwood

1:54 PM     Cottonwood Rescue Continues From Cottonwood

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