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How I've been celebrating EMS Week 2012

EMS systems and communities marked this year's National EMS Week with ceremonies and events

Editor's note: EMS Week 2012 is winding down soon. How did you celebrate?

EMS systems and communities around the country marked this year's National EMS Week with ceremonies and events. In my little part of the world, I noted several highlights that affected my week:

  • Today, I go to a retirement luncheon for the outgoing paramedic program director Linda Anderson, who has quietly yet relentlessly operated the program since 18 years ago in then-rural Northern California. Many, if not most, of the paramedics working in the area are graduates of her program.
  • During the San Francisco EMS Awards ceremony, posthumous medals were awarded to the families of firefighter-paramedic Anthony Valerio and firefighter-EMT Vincent Perez, who died during a house fire in 2011.
  • A local benefit today for a cardiac arrest survivor will reconnect the EMS providers with their patients in Sonoma County.
  • Nationally, a moment of silence marked the one-year anniversary of the Joplin tornado.

This is but a brief list; these events remind me of why I love being part of the EMS family. We work hard to bring control to chaos, and we try to put the health and welfare of others above our own.

We do that despite low pay and no recognition. We answer the call day and night, 24/7/365, all the while worrying about paying the bills, raising families and having relationship problems — in other words, being human.

As a profession, we've grown a lot since the 1970s, and we still have a long way to go in defining our national identity. From Johnny and Roy to community paramedics, the future seems a bit brighter than usual this week.

Celebrate National EMS Week. It's our moment to be proud of what we do.

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