OLEAN, NY  — A family legacy of giving and commitment to the community carried Walter Reisner through his career and has led him to being named this year’s Love of Olean United in Enterprise (L.O.U.I.E) Award recipient.

Through his vision, Reisner built up a company often credited with saving the lives of area residents when minutes mattered most. He’s been a leader in the local medical community, having worked tirelessly to make sure the best equipment and practices are available to first responders at a moment’s need.

The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce stated it is pleased to give Reisner the highest recognition it can for his dedication to the area. Reisner will receive the honor during the chamber’s 111th annual dinner on Nov. 3 at the Premier Banquet Center.

Sign Up for E-News

The L.O.U.I.E. Award is bestowed upon an individual who symbolizes the enterprising spirit for the greater Olean community, qualities embodied in the life of Olean native Louis Marra.

 “Often, a business leader’s accomplishments are gauged by the amount of money they earn or the number of people they employ. With Walt, the standard is much more meaningful: we know that countless numbers of lives were saved because of his efforts,” said Larry Sorokes, the Chamber’s CEO. “Walt is truly deserving of the L.O.U.I.E. Award, and we offer our sincerest gratitude for his work in our community.”

In 1982, Reisner and his wife, Ruth, founded Trans Am Ambulance Services Inc. with intentions of supplementing and assisting emergency medical services in the area. At its start, Trans Am operated with only one ambulance. In the decades that followed, the Reisners grew their business to include 10 ambulances, nine wheelchair vans, three advanced life support intercept vehicles, and three medicabs, in addition to a fully trained staff of EMTs and paramedics.  

Because of Reisner and his company, thousands of the area’s citizens have access to an independent first responder agency with advanced lifesaving capabilities and equipment, quality medical transportation, and other life-saving measures not often found in rural regions. In fact, Reisner was the first EMT certified in advanced life support and critical care in Cattaraugus County, as well as the first EMT certified critical care instructor in the greater Olean area.

Trans Am’s introduction of its fly cars was a significant service Reisner brought to the area. Because each car is outfitted the latest clinical technologies, such as defibrillators, many local first responder agencies are unable to afford or staff. With its small fleet of fly cars, Trans Am works with area ambulance companies to bolster their lifesaving efforts.

Reisner played an instrumental role in setting up many programs throughout the area, such as the Regional Paramedic Training Program which has distance learning labs at Olean General Hospital and the WCA Services/ALSTAR EMS Training Center in Jamestown, training EMTs and paramedics in the latest lifesaving techniques.

“Walt has dedicated his life to improving health services in our region, and his leadership in this sector is well-known and highly respected,” Sorokes said. “When I was at Jamestown Community College, he approached us about bringing first-responder training to the region via distance learning, and the program was a great success.”

As a member of various boards of directors, including Southern Tier Health Care System, the Southwest Regional Emergency Services Council and the Cattaraugus County Emergency Medical Services Council, Reisner’s service to the community cannot be forgotten. Reisner also was appointed to serve on the New York State Medical Services Council and the New York State Rural Health Council.

Working through charitable foundations bearing his parents' names, Reisner has donated more than $200,000 to many area organizations in need of financial support.

“Walt sets a fine example for all business leaders in the greater Olean area,” Sorokes said.

In addition to honoring Reisner at the upcoming dinner, the chamber will give 2016 Enterprising Business Awards to Premo Limousine Service of Western New York LLC and A Jason Clemons Salon.

The Nov. 3 event will begin with an informal reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Menu choices are grilled salmon, filet mignon or a vegetarian option of pasta and vegetable. Music will be provided by New York Standard Time comprised of Jan Rhody, Les Sabina and Moses Howden.

Tickets for the event are $46; patron dinner tickets are $55, and corporate tables of eight for $500 are also available. Patrons and corporate sponsors receive a listing in the dinner program.

To make reservations or for more information, contact the chamber at (716) 372-4433 or e-mail info@oleanny.com by Friday.