BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Jan Care Ambulance is celebrating 50 years in operation as the company now has 150 ambulances and 450 employees spread out in 12 counties.
However, it was humble beginnings for the ambulance empire. In 1970, Rick and Juanita Cornett started Jan Care with just the two of them and one ambulance.
“And so Rick was a one-person ambulance operator, and so he went out by himself and his wife, Juanita, would do the dispatching, so it truly was a mom and pop organization that started right here in Southern West Virginia,” Director of Operations Paul Seamann said.
By 1974, when Fayette County native Jack McClung joined the team, there were about 6 or 8 of them.
He said over the years, he has seen the company blossom, he has seen the call load change and new issues and adjustments emerge, but he says one thing has always stayed the same: the focus and the heart for the people of West Virginia.
“I have one of these [hearts] that’s bigger than myself. I ain’t kidding you,” McClung said. “I put myself in their place, and I really and truly feel what they’re feeling. A lot of the time it just absolutely breaks my heart.”
Jan Care credits its success to their staff from the two in 1970 to the 450 in 2020 made up of local people. As the times change and the EMS world changes, Jan Care says it will change with it, but will continue to be a consistent presence in the community.
“Whether it’s COVID or the blizzards or the storms and you know, we’ve watched people grow up and it’s really awe-inspiring to be such an intimate part of so many people’s lives in so many of these rural communities,” Seamann said.