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Ted Setla, the story teller

Remembering Ted as a friend first and a colleague second, unwavering in his quest to make the world better

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“EMS is forever changed because of Ted Setla,” Kris Kaull writes.

Courtesy photo

There’s an interesting thing that happens when faced with the unthinkable news that a friend has suddenly died. The community rallies. Honest words, like, “I miss seeing you,” and “I love you” are spoken through text and phone calls as news travels.

There is a transparency of humility and a candidness that usually gets lost in the shuffle of daily life. And then, in an instant, we are all instantly drawn back to our community.




Today, that conversation is about our friend and colleague, Thaddeus Setla. Ted was an ornery, stubborn paramedic. Not ornery in the “you can’t play with my toys” way. Not stubborn in the “I won’t do it” way.

Nope. He was ornery and stubborn in the charismatic, unrelenting, visionary way. His perfectionism and focus on his craft were unparalleled. His perspective on what could be was beyond what any of us saw.

In 2009, EMS1 was becoming a legitimized platform in the EMS online media industry. I cherished the fact that Ted saw what we saw. Concepts like “streaming video” and “social media” were just taking hold. And that’s where Ted shined. He saw an opportunity to connect us. He saw an opportunity to share stories through the lens of his camera that told one story: just how much more we are alike than we are different.

Ted brought together content creators, bloggers, artists, EMTs and paramedics all into the same conversation. At EMS1, we benefited by helping tell the story the Ted wanted to share. “Chronicles of EMS,” “Level Zero”, “Code STEMI” and many other projects forever changed the conversation.

But Ted wasn’t a paramedic or a filmmaker – those are titles that unjustly define the person Ted was. He was a believer in something better. He was a caring husband who ceaselessly bragged about his beautiful wife and amazing children. He was a friend first and a colleague second. He was unwavering in his quest to make the world better.

Last week, Ted’s heart stopped. And yet, I’m wondering if his heart worked harder in his short 47 years than many of us will feel in a lifetime. I know Ted’s heart. You know Ted’s heart. He wore it on his sleeve for all of us to see. EMS is forever changed because of Ted Setla.

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Remembering Paramedic, EMS storyteller Thaddeus ‘Ted’ Setla

Setla was a talented filmmaker who communicated the reality of EMS to educate, entertain and advocate columnist Krisendath D. Kaull, a paramedic and former firefighter, specializes in technology trends and their effect in Public Safety. During almost 15 years in both rural and urban fire and EMS settings, he has enhanced technology communications between field EMS providers and emergency departments.