2 off-duty Va. medics help elderly couple hit by car

“It’s kind of different when you pull up in your own personal vehicle," said Jason Gifford, a firefighter and paramedic with Radford Fire and EMS


By Leila Merrill

NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. — Paramedics Jason Gifford and Erin Jones were on their way home from having dinner on New Year’s Eve when they encountered traffic and found two elderly people on the ground after being hit by a car, WDBJ reported.

Rita and Bob, married retirees, were staying at a Hampton Inn in Christiansburg when they tried to cross a street to get to a restaurant. Then the crash happened.

They knew that strangers had helped them, including two paramedics, before an ambulance crew arrived.

After a news story about the seniors aired, the paramedics identified themselves and spoke to a reporter at the TV station.

“It’s kind of different when you pull up in your own personal vehicle; you don’t have all the tools and stuff like you’re at work, which you need, and so getting there with nothing to work, there’s a voice of comfort and you identify any life threats that they might have injury-wise and make sure that you know that one had been called and that they had appropriate resources on the way,” said Gifford, who is a firefighter and paramedic with Radford Fire and EMS.

He added that first responders are never really off-duty.

“It’s just second nature,” said Jones, who is a paramedic and works at the Montgomery County Jail and Christiansburg Rescue.

The engaged paramedics called the injured couple recently to see how they are doing. Rita and Bob are grateful.

The EMS providers said that other good Samaritans helped at the scene, too.

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