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Emergency responders excel with a ‘get to do’ mindset

Applause for EMS providers, firefighters, and police in Wis. and Texas that chose to serve others

When I am preparing for a marathon, each week’s training plan calls for a long run of 10 to 20 miles. Non-runners frequently ask, “how far do you have to run?”

I always answer, “I get to run 15 miles Saturday morning.”

For me the distinction between “have to run” and “get to run” is critical to my enjoyment of the run and even more importantly the justification of the several hours away from my family. I “get to” run because I am healthy, well, and fit.

On Sunday paramedics and firefighters from the Greenfield (Wis.) Fire Department transported a man with a cardiac emergency to the hospital. They provided a necessary and important service to the man and their community. It is easy to argue that is what they have to do. It is their job. After the transport they went above and beyond the call of duty by returning to the house to shovel the patient’s driveway. This unexpected service is bringing them accolades from the patient’s family and broad recognition from news outlets around the country. Was their mindset “we have to shovel” or " we get to shovel?”

Going above and beyond the call of duty is the mindset of most emergency responders. On Saturday emergency responders brought Mario Lopez, a terminally ill firefighter, from his Houston hospital to his home near San Antonio. All along the route emergency responders got to salute the 28-year-old. No one had to stand on the freeway overpass as Lopez’s ambulance drove underneath.

I applaud these emergency responders that went above and beyond this weekend. They made a choice and got to do something special for others. I also applaud all of you that have a selfless mindset of service, that may not make the news, yet it reflects your mindset to care and serve because you get to.

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is the Lexipol Editorial Director, leading the efforts of the editorial team on Police1, FireRescue1, Corrections1 and EMS1. Greg served as the EMS1 editor-in-chief for five years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from the University of Idaho. He is an educator, author, national registry paramedic since 2005, and a long-distance runner. Greg was a 2010 recipient of the EMS 10 Award for innovation. He is also a three-time Jesse H. Neal award winner, the most prestigious award in specialized journalism, and the 2018 and 2020 Eddie Award winner for best Column/Blog. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn.