Congressman describes how medic saved his life after 2017 shooting

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, who was wounded in the shooting at a Congressional baseball practice, spoke during Acadian Ambulance's virtual Medic of the Year Celebration


Adam Daigle
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

LAFAYETTE, La. — Of all the stories to come out of the shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise at a Congressional baseball game three years ago, the one he may always remember is this: A paramedic saved his life.

Scalise, speaking during Acadian Ambulance’s Medic of the Year Celebration on Tuesday, recalled how the driver of the ambulance made a decision to return to the field instead of going to a nearby hospital after he saw a helicopter headed back to the field. The Congressman was then airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he underwent treatment for his critical injuries.

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise spoke at Acadian Ambulance's virtual Medic of the Year Celebration Tuesday, recounting how a paramedic saved his life after the 2017 shooting at a Congressional baseball practice. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise spoke at Acadian Ambulance's virtual Medic of the Year Celebration Tuesday, recounting how a paramedic saved his life after the 2017 shooting at a Congressional baseball practice. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

So on a day when Acadian honored its top EMTs and paramedics, the event was of extra significance.

“They flew me to the hospital in mere minutes,” Scalise said. “In fact, the pilot’s own words were, ‘I flew that thing like I stole it.’ Thank God he did.

“The ambulance driver saved my life. I had mere minutes and seconds to live. None of that would have happened without the actions of the heroic professionals on that ball field.”

Scalise and other speakers congratulated Acadian and its honored employees on Tuesday for the Acadiana-based company that ran its first call 49 years ago. On the company’s first call, one of its two ambulances actually broke down en route to the crash, leaving the paramedics to push the vehicle the rest of the way to the scene, chairman and CEO Richard Zuschlag recalled.

Now the company has 612 ambulances and more than 5,000 employees in four states.

“Over the years, we have faced many challenges and disasters, both natural and man-made,” Zuschlag said. “But the challenge of the COVID-19 virus has challenged our organization in an unprecedented way. Yet throughout all these challenges, our Acadian team continues to answer the call and to provide exceptional care to the communities we are blessed to serve.”

This year's annual celebration also looked a little different thanks to COVID-19. What is usually a communal gala — a real treat for the employees that are the backbone of the company — was a virtual event on Zoom.

But it was no less of a celebration.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, longtime NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, Gov. John Bel Edwards, LSU Coach Ed Orgeron and longtime college football coach Lou Holtz congratulated the winners and spoke in support of the company and its employees.

Acadian named Jeremy Brown as Paramedic of the Year and Liz Hall EMT of the Year for the Southwest Louisiana region along with Bjoern Landeck and Karra Cross of the South Central Texas region and 15 Regional Paramedics of the Year and 10 Regional EMTs of the Year.

“None of our great accomplishments are possible without our team of dedicated employees,” Zuschlag said. “Our company’s success is directly related to the incredible work ethic, culture and Christian attitude you all carry each day.”

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©2020 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

See Scalise's full remarks below:

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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