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Colleagues remember Okla. paramedic who died from COVID-19

Tulsa EMSA Paramedic Debbie Rusher was laid to rest on Tuesday, and is remembered as a tough, respected and knowledgeable mentor


Photo/EMSA Oklahoma

By Laura French

TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma paramedic who died from COVID-19 was honored and laid to rest this week after more than 22 years of service.

Tulsa EMS Authority (EMSA) Paramedic Debbie Rusher, 56, died from the virus on Dec. 28, and her funeral was held Tuesday with a procession of emergency vehicles from numerous local agencies, according to the Tulsa World. The procession was led by an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper and included members of Creek County EMS, Muskogee County EMS and the Tulsa Fire Department, among others.

Rusher is remembered as a knowledgeable and supportive mentor who loved her job and remained calm during tough situations, EMSA colleagues said. EMSA Spokesperson Adam Paluka told News on 6 that Rusher was a quiet person, but “when she spoke, you listened.”

Rusher had battled COVID-19 for more than a month, and local first responders had visited the hospital to “light up the night” outside of her room in early December. Oklahoma City EMS providers traveled to Tulsa on Tuesday to assist with emergency coverage during Rusher’s funeral procession.

“Debbie was an excellent paramedic and a wonderful person who dedicated her life to helping others. She will be missed,” the Jenks Fire Department wrote on Facebook with a video clip from the procession.[0]=AZXZncWneIbrHcSGppHXzmWP1VGV1gI4F5-B9EVIPkoMiuORU5iHuDgYrZGdnZPPGwQj8FVDw5H-kUhb_rvvql8lvjX5wDcRi6TFvpDdwibRXZucb4L1EIS3nuMF_e4hcsc3Ui4ETALS0ujEJP398k-P&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R[0]=AZUh98Zr8IEGvQa9iEGUcFwnoxyztdaogjUVhprfC1thV22nOkSGX5uf94lB6VZqMXGEgg8LDcOInlS2IQzWNP7D9q5KuDvw-kVrjG6NY2D6NoS-ohEkKCc8Y0mJRUuExU209gV5KQHzSgS-b4mi48zysz7jpzX3pI2lb-AeU81o7Q&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R