In an effort to take better care of its citizens and those passing through the town, Roseboro is working toward getting a helicopter pad so hospital helicopters can land safely and transport patients more effectively.
Roseboro fire chief Bobby Owen has been diligently working on the project for over a year. Back in February, he shared with the town’s commissioners that he was sending letters out to local businesses, asking them to consider making a donation to help with cost of the helipad.
The project is now getting kicked into a higher gear. The Roseboro fire department is organizing a “Ride to Fly” bike ride to raise more funds for the project.
The bike ride is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28. After registration is held from 8 to 10 a.m. that morning at Roseboro’s town park, bikers will rev up their motors and cruise to Moore’s Creek Battlefield in Currie then return to the park.
The cost to participate in the ride, which will be approximately 50 miles one way, is $20 per biker and an additional $5 for each accompanying passenger.
On the same day, there will also be a chicken plate sale for lunch.
Proceeds will go toward making the helipad a reality for Roseboro, a resource that Owen believes the town will truly benefit from.
“There’s been several occasions in the past where it would have been nice to have,” said Owen earlier in the year. “We’ve managed to deal with not having one. We’ve been able to find fields for them to land in, but they [the helicopter pilots] don’t really like to do that because of all the grass that flies around. It can get into the helicopter’s engine and cause problems. They like a clean and clear place to land, and I certainly understand where they’re coming from. They don’t want that grass or debris to give them trouble at that time or on down the road.”
Owen also recalled an earlier accident that required a person be airlifted and the only place to land nearby was not at all ideal. “Once they had to land on top of the landfill. There was an 18-wheeler that turned over on the main road and a man was trapped inside. There was trash flying all around because when they land there’s a lot of wind. After that incident, they specifically talked to me and said that if we could find a better place for them to land they would really appreciate it.”
And while such past events have made it clear that a helipad is needed in the community, Owen anticipates that it will be needed all the more once a four-laned Hwy. 24 comes through Sampson County.
“I think it’ll be really helpful as the new highway is made,” he noted. “There will probably be a lot more traffic, a lot more 18-wheelers out there, and it’ll be good to have the helipad when wrecks and things happen.”
Once completed, the helipad will be FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certified. When describing the project to the town board earlier in the year, Owen explained that the landing pad will have to meet many criteria.
“Certified means that something like Duke Life Flight will come out and look at it,” said Owen. “They’ll have to locate it on their GPS, get the latitude and longitude.”
“We will have to put up lights around it, green ones so that they can see it at night, and there will have to be a windsock,” he continued. “Also, there’s a certain grade the pad has to be so that water runs off. Everything will be done according to the FAA. They have certain criteria that you have to meet.”
A location for the helipad has already been decided on. It will be located just southwest of the fire department in the open area behind Roseboro’s dialysis center and will serve as Sampson County’s western landing pad.
Roseboro mayor David Alexander shared that he is thankful the town has such an ideal spot for the helipad, pointing out that it will not only be used in case of emergencies but can also be utilized by the dialysis center.
“I think this a very, very good thing. It will certainly help the town out because we need that landing pad,” said Alexander. “And I know we’ll be having more events. One isn’t going to do it, but it will help save the town money and it’ll be good for Roseboro. We’d love to have it (the helipad) and we’d love to have people come out and participate.”
In the event of rain or bad weather, the bike ride will be rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5.
To keep up with Roseoboro’s Ride to Fly bike ride, interested persons can also check “Ride to Fly - Bike Ride’ on Facebook and visit the town’s website at www.roseboronc.com.
To contact the fire department for more information or with questions about the bike ride, please call 910-525-4205.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.