The new emergency services director and emergency management coordinator for Stokes County is a familiar face to many.
Stokes native Brandon Gentry began working in the department full-time in 2001 and has been in a supervisor position for the past 13 years.
Gentry replaces Brian Booe who came on in August, 2017 and is now working as a field medic. Gentry will oversee the emergency medical care to more than 47,000 citizens of Stokes County 24-hours a day from base locations in Danbury, Lawsonville, King and Walnut Cove, along with the county’s five fully equipped, paramedic-staffed ambulances and three quick response vehicles.
“I’ve been in the supervisor shoes and I’ve been in field staff. I know what they need,” Gentry said. “So, I’m going to be here to help them out as best I can.”
Stokes County has received nearly 6,500 emergency calls so far this year and is expected to surpass last year’s 11,000, according to Gentry.
“When I started we ran around 4,500 calls yearly. It’s increased about every year. That’s counting the stand-by calls, where units get calls from other districts and we move ambulances around to help cover.”
Gentry attributes the surge to a growing older population, a mounting opioid issue, and a general health decline as a population.
“We’re certainly not the only county facing these problems,” he said. “It’s across the board.”
There’s currently four full-time openings in the department that Gentry is hoping to fill quickly.
“Right now one of our biggest issues is staffing. It’s another statewide problem. We just don’t have people going into this field like we once did,” he said. “But patient care is going to be our first priority. We’ll take care of the sick and injured in Stokes County, which includes those that live here or passing through.”
Gentry added, “If anyone needs us, don’t hesitate to call.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.