The tradition of 'Home for the Holdiays' is etched in many minds.

With families living farther apart, those words mean even more to some.

This Thanksgiving will mark the fifth year for Lifeguard Ambulance's "Home for the Holidays" program for those in assisted living facilites and those skilled patients who are ambulatory in Santa Rosa County.

The program offers complimentary ambulance transportation on a space available basis to Santa Rosa County residents who would otherwise be unable to be home this Thanksgiving or Christmas.

"This is such a great program we have team members who volunteer to be here on Thanksgiving to be a part of it," said Jason Kimbrell, who is the Regional Executive for Lifeguard Ambulance in Milton. "It is even better with our volunteers that we can do this without our on-line units so our response time to any emergency in the county is not affected."

Home for the Holidays is designed to let patients in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities to spend time at home with family and friends.

"When they are in these facilities they may get a visit from family members one or two at a time," Kimbrell said. "Here through this effort they can enjoy the day with everyone at the same time.

"The holiday season is always a special time for families and we hope this program makes a big difference in the lives of those we are fortunate to be serving in Santa Rosa County."

So far in the program Lifeguard Ambulance has served 30 individuals, but are ready and excited to serve more.

"If we need to we will bring people in to make it possible if we have to," Kimbrell said.

Requests for transportation for this Thanksgiving have to be made by Monday.

If you would like to plan for Christmas or Christmas Eve you have until Dec. 21.

"Thanksgiving is not as busy as Christmas is for us," Kimbrell said. "But we are hear and ready to help those we can to make this a special holiday for them."

One key to the program is all participants must be self-supporting at the family members home and under the care of a responsible family member.

Lifeguard Ambulance Service will provide complimentary, roundtrip transportation originating and ending in Santa Rosa County.

For additional information or to schedule a “Home for the Holidays” transport, call 983-3000, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.