History of Aero Methow Rescue Service

The parent corporation of Aero Methow Rescue Service is Methow Valley Home Health Agency, a private non-profit corporation, with 501(c) (3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. The initial mission of Methow Valley Home Health Agency was to provide Home Health Care in the Okanogan Douglas District Hospital Boundaries. In 1970 Methow Valley Home Health Agency abandoned the Home Health Care division and assumed the operation of Aero Methow Rescue Service.

Dr. William Henry is the founder of Methow Valley Home Health Agency. One night in 1967, Dr. Henry was asked to help a young mother who had been injured in a car accident. Emergency medical services as we know them today did not exist. He responded in his private car with his medical bag and called the local tow truck driver to come and help him. The woman was trapped under her car on the Loup Loup Highway, and Dr. Henry could only hold her hand while she died.

Determined that this would not happen again, Dr. Henry and a group of concerned citizens made a makeshift ambulance out of a donated Suburban. Dr. Henry trained volunteers in advanced first aid, bought the necessary equipment, administered the operation, and housed the ambulance at his medical center, the Twisp Medical Center (currently Methow Valley Family Practice). In 1969, Aero Methow Rescue Service made the Seattle newspaper as an exciting new ambulance service in the small town of Twisp. At the time of Aero Methow Rescue Service’s inception a member of the service owned a small plane, the corporation owned a snow cat, a volunteer had a Saint Bernard and a helicopter was on order (this never became a reality). Dr. Henry and Dr. Baker (worked here in the valley with Dr. Henry) were flight surgeons in the Navy and planned to offer air ambulance service to the sick and injured. The logo, still used today, was developed with these components, a Saint Bernard snow cat with prop on his tail.

Dr. Henry was instrumental in the development and implementation of emergency medical services and the Emergency Medical Technician program in the State of Washington. Dr. Henry offered the first Emergency Medical Technician classes in the state in 1973. His local program was funded through grants, donations and fees for service, and he and his volunteers responded whenever needed. Since 1980 Aero Methow Rescue Service has operated with three ambulances, two based in Twisp and one in Winthrop.