Growing traffic congestion around Puget Sound and a growing population on the west side of the Sound led Airlift Northwest to create a permanent station in Bremerton for its air ambulance service.

Airlift helicopters are often seen flying critically ill trauma patients from the scenes of horrific car crashed and shootings, but that's only about 25 percent of the patients it transports. The rest are people who need to get quickly to a hospital for urgent reasons.

While Airlift has served peninsula communities through its other bases such as Arlington, Bellingham, and Olympia, the needs on the peninsula have kept growing, according to Executive Director Chris Martin.

Population growth in communities like Silverdale are one reason, but the now long and often unpredictable trips involving sending somebody to one of Seattle's major hospitals via the highway have raised the need to fly those people in the helicopters and airplanes that Airlift provides.