Giving thanks to EMS

I am thankful for the EMTs and paramedics who serve their community and make a difference in the lives of others


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the traditions of celebrating the harvest, sharing gratitude for life’s blessings and spending time with friends and family. Expressions of gratitude, just like giving compliments, affirmations and recognition, aren’t just for Thanksgiving. They are everyday essentials for supervisors, coaches, parents and teachers to bring out the best in the people they lead, teach and supervise – a sentiment clearly stated in this quote from Charles Schwab, “the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” 

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, here are five things for which I am grateful and hope to see more of through appreciation and encouragement.  

1. Gratitude for career dedication to EMS 

Captain Todd Marburger, Spirit EMS, was recognized this month for serving as an EMT for 10,000 days, more than 27 years. “We are forever grateful for Todd’s continued perseverance as an EMS practitioner and leader in our organization,” Spirit EMS President/CEO Brian K. Hathaway said.  

Marburger, like all long-serving EMTs and paramedics, has undoubtedly cared for thousands of patients, mentored hundreds of new EMTs and made an immeasurable impact on his community.   

“I never expected to be recognized for doing my job, and doing something that I love to do,” Marburger said. 

Career dedication often extends beyond the service boundaries of an EMS agency. The just-launched International Journal of Paramedicine is edited and produced by more than 130 volunteers. In the opening editorial, Michael Gunderson, EMT-P (ret.), FAEMS, writes, “Paramedicine needs a common place to engage in scholarly and professional discourse for knowledge growth, evidence informed decision making, and progress in areas reaching far beyond just clinical research.” 

Read: Premiere issue of the International Journal of Paramedicine 

2. Gratitude for young people joining our profession 

Ethan Bustamante, 16, completed an EMT course this summer and is preparing to take the NREMT examination. According to the Durango Herald, Bustamante is preparing for a career in medicine, and EMT training helps distinguish him from other university applicants. He also wants to see other high school students complete EMT training. “It would expose kids to something different,” Bustamante said. “There’s really nothing offered in the medical fields in our school unless the student has an outside interest like me. It could be a senior elective.” 

He’s not the only high school student training to become an EMT. Eleven students at Cane Bay High School in South Carolina spend 90 minutes a day in EMT training. According to ABC News 4, four graduates of the program are already working as EMTs. "You get to serve your community. I love my job … meeting new people, helping them in their worst moment, and just comforting them. It's the best feeling," Lindsay Thigpen, Berkeley County EMT and Cane Bay EMT program graduate, said. 

Read: Creating jobs and feeding new EMTs into the workforce  

3. Gratitude for new EMTs and paramedics 

People of all ages are called to serve their communities and make a difference in the lives of others by becoming EMTs and paramedics. In 2018, the NREMT reported 68,002 first-time certified EMTs and 11,404 first-time certified paramedics. Despite the pandemic, roller-coaster economy and surging wages in nearly every sector, people are still choosing EMS. In 2021, the most recent year available, 73,928 EMTs and 12,870 paramedics were certified by the NREMT for the first time.  

Social posts from training centers and EMS employers document the enthusiasm, dedication, diversity and workforce readiness of recent entrants into the profession. Last week, Wake County EMS celebrated the graduation and pinning ceremony for EMS Academy 38, the largest academy in the history of Wake County EMS. Fifty-two providers completed their field training program requirements. Wake County EMS also announced last week that the 49 providers in EMS Academy 39 were nearing completion of classroom training and beginning their field training.  

It has been a busy week for new EMTs and paramedics joining the profession. Delaware County (Ohio) EMS announced 16 EMTs and paramedics began new hire orientation. Dayton (Ohio) Fire Department graduated 15 EMTs who "successfully completed all of their training requirements and are ready to begin their service to Dayton's citizens.” In Charleston County (South Carolina) EMS, 11 new EMTs and paramedics, at the completion of classroom orientation, took their oath of patient care and received their badges. Hennepin (Minnesota) EMS welcomed its newest class of paramedics.     

Read: The law of attraction and the use of social media in EMS 

4. Gratitude for saving lives 

Saving lives is our reason for being. Returning spontaneous circulation after cardiac arrest and reversing opioid overdose are two conditions where EMS responders can make a lifesaving difference. The patients cared for by EMS have a chance to celebrate this holiday season with their friends and families because of EMS.  

Save Sunday is a new to-me social media trend in which EMS agencies recognize their personnel who responded to cardiac arrest patients and achieved sustained return of spontaneous circulation. Durham County (North Carolina) EMS and Guilford County (North Carolina) EMS are posting messages of gratitude for their paramedics, EMTs and AEMTs every week for their cardiac arrest care. Also, check out Well Done Wednesday

Read: 10 steps to organizing a cardiac arrest survivor celebration  

5. Gratitude for going above and beyond for your community 

For most EMS providers, it is not enough to work nights, weekends and holidays. I am looking forward to the news reports, social posts and emails announcing how EMS providers have gone above and beyond for their community during the holiday season. Filling the ambulance with food, collecting toys and coats for kids, serving meals to people experiencing homelessness, collecting food for families, sewing blankets and ringing bells for the Salvation Army are just a few of the ways EMS goes beyond the everyday call of duty. Share with us the ways your EMS agency is giving back to the community this holiday season.     

Thanks for all you do to serve your community and make a difference in the lives of others.  

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