Colo. medical air staff celebrate paramedic's 2K air transports
Paramedic Bo Cheatham said the reward of helping people on their worst day keeps him going and convinced there's no job better than his
By Trevor Reid
GREELEY, Colo. — Bo Cheatham, a flight paramedic for North Colorado Med Evac, transported his 2,000th patient by air earlier this month.
Even with 18 years of experience at North Colorado Med Evac, not every flight is routine for Cheatham.
"I thought it was just going to be one of our routine flights," he said. "It was far from it."
North Colorado Med Evac staff celebrated Cheatham's milestone Tuesday morning, along with flight paramedic Chip Brownlee's 30 years and flight mechanic Terry York's 35 years with the program. Mel Streator, who was a flight nurse at North Colorado Med Evac until moving to the Western Slope, said the experience of Cheatham, Brownlee and York made her feel prepared to take on any emergency situation.
"It was always comforting, no matter what kind of scene or interfacility transfer that we walked into, knowing that either (Cheatham or Brownlee) were my partner," Streator said.
York has been with North Colorado Med Evac from the start of the program on July 1, 1982. He's mostly responsible for one of the Bell 407 helicopters flown by North Colorado Med Evac, but helps with maintenance and repairs on all three. If he gets a call about an issue in Wyoming, he hops in the car and makes the drive to see what the issue is.
"It's challenging. Every day there's something different. I've done this for 35 years. There's always something new that comes up," York said.
As flight paramedics, Brownlee and Cheatham couldn't agree more. When emergency strikes, they have to keep level heads and do their best to help patients do the same. They have a short amount of time to manage a massive amount of pressure.
"When I first started in paramedicine, if you told me that this was how I was going to end up doing it, I would've told you, 'No way,' just for that reason," Brownlee said.
Cheatham said he always knew he wanted to be a flight medic, but he acknowledges it's a very taxing job. All the flights kind of blend together after a while, he said. He sees it as a sort of protective mechanism.
"I truly believe you can see too much," he said.
Though it can be a difficult job, Cheatham said the reward of helping people on their worst day keeps him going and convinced there's no job better than his.
"We get to make a difference in somebody's life," he said. "North Colorado Med Evac is the place to work. It's the best job out there."
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