As snow piled up outside, Kelly Gibson was thrilled to see a Fayette County sheriff’s deputy waiting for her at the end of her nursing shift Friday afternoon at Shriners Hospital for Children.
Deputy Barry Lindsay, Sr. was her ride home.
“I wouldn’t want to be driving in this myself, but we’ve got to get to work, we have patients counting on us,” Gibson said.
Lindsay and other deputies spent their day helping doctors, nurses and patients navigate a city covered in snow.
The Office of the Fayette County Sheriff started its Winter Care Program during the 2003 ice storm and has continued providing rides to medical care professionals and taking patients to critical treatments during severe snow storms each year.
As a part of the program, deputies also do welfare checks requested by the families of elderly people living alone in Lexington; distribute winter coats, gloves and blankets; and deliver medications deemed critical.
Lindsay began transporting people at 6 a.m. Friday before the first flake fell. As road conditions deteriorated throughout the day, his large, four-wheel drive vehicle glided through the snow while others slid and got stuck.
The program is designed to alleviate pressure on the police department, so they can “do what they do,” Lindsay said.
As Lindsay picked up medicine for a cancer patient, a pharmacist at the Walmart Supercenter at North Park Marketplace mentioned she’d seen several sheriff’s deputies filling prescriptions for snowed-in patients.
“That’s something she needs,” Lindsay said as he drove the medicine to the patient’s home. “So I don’t have any problem doing it.”
Lindsay said being able to help the community makes driving in the cold, hazardous conditions worth the trouble.
“Doctors and nurses need help getting where they need to be, and we’re able to provide that,” he said. “I love doing it.”
Lindsay said the sheriff’s office will continue providing the service until road conditions improve. Anyone requesting a welfare check, a ride to a critical medical appointment or pick-up of critical medications can call the office of Sheriff Kathy Witt at 859-252-1771.