News Column

Risky loan paid off for Anderson County's health

February 21, 2014

By Mike Ellis, Anderson Independent Mail, S.C.



Feb. 21--ANDERSON -- In the 1970s, Phil Cahaly made a car loan to a 16-year-old and got called out by his boss at his bank.

He had faith in the young man and the loan was paid, but the young man, Greg Shore, came back for another loan, this time $25,000 for an ambulance.

"I made the loan," Cahaly said. "Twenty-five thousand was a big loan in 1976."

Cahaly's boss flipped out, and said countless ambulance ventures have gone belly up, but Cahaly stuck to his intuition.

It turned out to be the smartest loan of Cahaly's long banking career, he said, because Shore grew that single ambulance into Medshore, which now is the largest ambulance service in South Carolina with 300 employees covering 11 counties.

Shore was honored Thursday as the 10th Communitarian by the United Way. The annual award is given for charitable work and local outreach.

Shore became the first paramedic, a step higher than an emergency medical technician, in Anderson County while still a teenager, at a time when ambulance service barely existed in the county, said Paul Brown, a journalist who has seen Shore's career and good works for decades.

Growing up the son of a prominent Anderson photographer, Shore became interested in helping at wrecks and aggressively went after a career and a life of helping others.

He was the first man to bring computer-aided emergency dispatch to the county. He began a two-track career in 1989 when he became a deputy coroner and has been re-elected as Anderson County coroner four times since 1996.

He has been a reliable supporter of charities and good causes for decades, said Carol Burdette, president of United Way of Anderson County.

She recently worked with him and his ambulance service to get 211, a nonemergency phone number that is a clearinghouse for available services. The phone lines are run out of Medshore offices.

"If I could do it again, I'd have asked him earlier," Burdette said. "He did all he could and we have it working. He's such a generous guy."

A previous Communitarian, Dr. Becky Campbell, said her daughter and Shore's daughter grew up together.

While she was leading the regional health department, Campbell and Shore paired on a program to reduce infant mortality rates, getting hospitals to instruct new parents about keeping babies on their backs and keeping blankets or stuffed animals out of cribs.

"We said we could do something," Campbell said. "We did and our infant mortality went down because of what we were able to do."

Tim Merritt, who was a young paramedic along with Shore while they were teens, said his friend is a true example of the word.

"Through thick and thin," Merritt said, "I can count on a friend like that, I have others, but none like Greg. He is honorable and trusting. A true friend."

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(c)2014 the Anderson Independent Mail (Anderson, S.C.)

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Source: Anderson Independent-Mail (SC)


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