(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
The family owned business was established in 1967 by James and Carol Pafford. It is one of the largest and oldest family-owned ambulance operations in America. A second generation of family members are now part of the business and serve in four states including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Pafford is headquartered in Hope and has 500 employees.
Manila Mayor Clifford Veach said when he received notice the former ambulance company was leaving Manila at the end of 2008, the search began for a dependable emergency service.
"Pafford agreed to come to Manila on a 90-day trial basis," Mayor Veach said. "We are really happy for the way it has kicked off and we look forward to a long-term agreement when the 90 days are up."
Pafford District Manager Benny Ford has been with the company for 23 years. Ford said he also has been pleased with the first weeks in Manila with one full service ambulance being stationed there. Ford said when the ambulance leaves Manila, another is immediately dispatched to Manila from the Blytheville location.
Plans are also underway to have a second ambulance in Manila to be manned by Manila's First Responders.
"All of our ambulances are equipped with state-of-the-art emergency equipment to take care of heart patients or trauma victims," Ford said.
"We have very little employee turnover. We treat them like we want to be treated."
Ford makes the rounds visiting the sites on a regular basis.
"We agreed to a 90 day trial in Manila and I don't see any problem in making it longer," Ford said. "I'm available 24 hours a day."
Pafford has other Arkansas locations in Hope, West Memphis, Osceola, Marianna and Helena, as well as many locations in Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
"We like to be part of the communities we serve," Ford said. "We work closely with the fire departments and police departments. We offer community service to be available for festivals, ballgames or other activities. When possible, we make our purchases from local businesses."
Pafford also stays involved in educating the community by offering CPR and First Aid courses.
The company has grown over its 41 years of service but has maintained compassion and desire to offer the best pre-hospital care available. Pafford staffs advanced life support personnel on every ambulance call.
Pafford also offers a membership. Ford will be getting the word out and making membership available in the near future.