Base Manager Alex Skaalen was on hand Monday morning as the on-duty pilot and helicopter mechanic accomplished routine maintenance on the Valley Med Flight helicopter behind CHI St. Alexius Devils Lake Hospital.

Base Manager Alex Skaalen was on hand Monday morning as the on-duty pilot and helicopter mechanic accomplished routine maintenance on the Valley Med Flight helicopter behind CHI St. Alexius Devils Lake Hospital.

Meanwhile two semi trucks bearing steel beams waited on 10th Street NE to be unloaded.

The footings for the new hangar being built in the city limits are already poured and soon the concrete for the floor and helicopter pad will be poured, as well, if the weather continues to hold out.
Skaalen is upbeat about the new facility which not only will house the helicopter but living quarters for flight crew, much like you would find at a fire house.

He said having the crew on site could cut the response time in half and for some patients, that could be critical.

He also explained that within the helicopter they have the capacity to deal with the same kinds of trauma that you’d find in an emergency room or trauma center. “It is deceptive, it looks too small from the outside to provide all that,” he said.
“But it does.”

He should know. Skaalen is not only the base manager, he is also a flight paramedic.
Since he’s been working for Valley Med Flight he’s bought a home right here in Devils Lake, putting down some roots.

A hunter and fisherman, the Lake Region is his kind of place, you might say.
He is enthusiastic about the facility they are building here in Devils Lake which is scheduled for a June 2017 completion.

“We will have an open house when it’s all done, so the public can see it,” he said.

Because of the new hangar they are also making security changes for the parking area, including more lighting and security cameras, which will benefit all the employees of the hospital and clinic, and perhaps the St. Joseph Elementary School next door, as well.