June 15, 2007

LifeFlight’s Bland remembered for dedication, communication

Featured Image

Tony Bland

LifeFlight’s Bland remembered for dedication, communication

Michael Anthony (Tony) Bland, a Vanderbilt LifeFlight employee for more than 18 years, died of a heart attack on Tuesday, June 12.

Bland, who was named “EMT of the Year” in 2006 by the Tennessee Ambulance Service Association (TASA), was active in the air medical community on a national level as a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Air Medical Communication Specialists, and was an institution within the local emergency medical services (EMS) community.

He served as a flight communicator with Vanderbilt LifeFlight's emergency communications center.

“Tony was a valued member of the LifeFlight team and worked as a flight communicator for more than 18 years,” said Jeanne Yeatman, R.N., program director for Vanderbilt LifeFlight. “His daughter Ashley and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Visitation will be Friday, June 15, from 2-9 p.m. at the J.C. Kirby & Son Funeral Home in Bowling Green, Ky. Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 16, at 1 p.m.

For more information, visit the LifeFlight Web site at www.vanderbiltlifeflight. Bland will be honored with a full EMS funeral, including a procession of ambulances and a flyover by LifeFlight helicopters.

Bland began his EMS career more than 21 years ago in the U.S. Army. He later worked in the Robertson, Cheatham and Sumner county EMS systems before joining LifeFlight in 1991.

“Tony found his true calling as a communications specialist,” said Yeatman. “He has been an integral part of more than 4,000 patient missions.”

John Morris Jr., M.D., director of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care, said that Bland provided a level of expertise that will be missed by all of those in the EMS community.

“Whenever I got a call from Tony about the possibility of mass casualties I knew to drop what I was doing and head to the hospital. We were blessed with Tony and his gift as a flight communicator,” Morris said.