Every year many elderly or disabled people are forced to spend Christmas in a hospital bed or nursing home because of their families' inability to provide transportation for them.

Valley Ambulance of Provo would like to help these people make it home for Christmas this year. The company will start a new tradition of providing free service to those who need the special assistance of an ambulance to travel to their homes."We feel that there is a distinct need for this service," Valley Ambulance general manager Kent Gren said. "Many people are forced to spend this special time of year away from their family and loved ones because there is no way to safely transport them to their homes."

Gren noted that the service is not to be used as a taxi but rather for those special patients who need the added care of an ambulance.

Valley Ambulance supplied rides last year on a smaller scale but has decided to make the service available to residents throughout Utah County.

"This time we want to move as many people as we possibly can," Gren said. "It is a gift from us. We wanted to make someone's Christmas more pleasant. That's our plan - trying to meet more people's needs."

Valley Ambulance will begin early Christmas morning bringing disabled loved ones home. Emergency medical technicians will return Christmas evening to take them back to their respective places of residence.

According to Gren, the company's employees are excited to be involved with the project. "Our technicians will be wearing Santa hats just for the occasion."

Letters went out last week letting people at the nursing homes know about the service. Gren expects to have a number of requests by Christmas Eve.

For further information or to make arrangements, call 377-7033.