Clinton County student honored at Life Flight Landing Zone dedication

LOCK HAVEN – Bryce Bason, a Central Mountain High School student who identified the need for a Life Flight Landing Zone (LZ) to serve the Lock Haven and Sproul State Forest areas of Clinton County, was honored by state and local leaders recently for his community mindedness and commitment to public safety.

As his senior class project, Bason coordinated the construction of a helipad in partnership with area businesses and community leadership, to enable needed emergency helicopter transport to area medical facilities.

Bason conceived of the idea after a fellow student suffered a traumatic injury on a nearby forest trail, but was unable to be extracted to a trauma center due to the lack of an LZ for the Life Flight aircraft, prolonging medical response and putting her life in further jeopardy.

Bason recognized that his family’s farm, located along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, offered a potential LZ site in otherwise challenging terrain and inquired with Life Flight as to its feasibility.

Working with Hawbaker Engineering of Montoursville, he finalized the survey and site plans, developed a pad design that would meet the clearance requirements for emergency aircraft and completed the necessary permit applications.

Bason then enlisted the help of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, and three local partner companies – Fox Hollow Construction, Benson Probst Excavating and Ultra Pipeline – to construct the LZ.

As part of this project, Bason researched the types of emergency flares that first responders need to provide a safe landing operation, identified seven different first-responder agencies that could potentially have need for the LZ and raised the funds to buy flare kits.

At a recent ceremony, Bason presented an “e-flare” kit to each of those seven local departments.

The ceremony was attended by a number of area emergency responders and public officials, including U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-10), who presented Bason with a Congressional Gold Coin. Thompson said that he took special pride in Bason’s work, and in the emergency management personnel present at the ceremony, because of his own two decades of service as a first responder.

Rep. Mike Hanna’s office honored Bason with a citation by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives crediting his commitment “to the safety of his community in times of emergency.” A proclamation sponsored by State Senators Joe Scarnati and John Wozniak was also presented to Bason, and paid tribute to “the dedication of young people like Bryce who use their considerable talents and resources to serve others.”

Clinton County Commissioner Pete Smeltz led the ceremony and offered his appreciation on behalf of the county for Bason’s diligence. Shon Rhoton, operations superintendent for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, addressed the importance of this project. “Our company jumped at the opportunity to help Bryce realize his vision for this LZ, which can only enhance the safety and security of our fellow Pennsylvanians,” said Rhoton.

Other speakers honoring Bason included Central Mountain school board superintendent Kelly Hastings, Geisinger Life Flight program safety manager Pete Carros and Kevin Fanning, Clinton County director of EMS.