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National EMS Week

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/17/24 | 4/17/24

By Michael Ryan

ASHLAND - It obviously isn’t true that nobody cares about emergency medical services workers until they need them.

Several hundred folks showed up for a fundraising pancake breakfast at the Ashland municipal building, on a recent Saturday morning.

They were all there to say “thank you” and unofficially commence the 50th Anniversary of National EMS Week, unfolding May 19-25.

The dollars raised help support local ambulance units in raising awareness about what they do and keeping up with rapidly changing realities.

There are a smattering of volunteer teams surviving, but the shift is toward fulltime paid units providing advanced life support (paramedic) and basic life support (hospital transport) for the citizenry.

The event in Ashland was hosted by the town’s ambulance administrator Diane Cross and administrative assistant Heather Younes.

“Oh my God, it was so great,” Cross said in a subsequent phone interview, having been busier than many beavers in the kitchen during the breakfast.

“Honestly, we never expected that much of a turnout. It was busy right out of the box,” Cross said, emphasizing that $2,700 was contributed to the Greene County EMS Council after expenses were paid.

The Greene County Emergency Medical Services Council Inc. has as its purpose to bring assistance, instruction, direction, coordination, efficient delivery and regulation to emergency medical service.

Town of Windham ambulance administrator Davia Montie was among those on hand for the Ashland fundraiser, carrying stacks of flapjacks to tables.

Windham’s advanced life support team will be similarly busy for EMS Week as they open their headquarters, on May 20, to Windham-Ashland-Jewett school students for educational seminars.

Recruiting the next generation of rescue workers has become paramount, Montie says, noting the visit will include a landing and tour of the Air Methods rescue helicopter.

And a countywide “appreciation dinner” is scheduled for May 18 at the Blakcthorne Resort in the town of Durham, extending tribute to all emergency services personnel.

“Honoring Our Past, Forging Our Future” is the theme for the National EMS Week, established in 1974 by President Gerald Ford.

National EMS Week is a celebration of EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation's communities, their website states.

It brings together local communities and medical personnel to honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine's frontline.

National EMS Week is presented by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in partnership with the National Associations of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT).

These organizations are working to ensure that the important contributions of EMS practitioners in safeguarding the health, safety and well-being of their communities are fully celebrated and recognized.

“Much has changed since 1974, yet there is still much we can learn from those trailblazing clinicians who helped EMS evolve into the sophisticated branch of medicine it is today,” the EMS website states.

“Their dedication, commitment and sacrifice inspire us to take bold steps of our own, to continue to seek out ways to better serve our patients and our communities.

“This year, we celebrate EMS Week by honoring our past—by taking a pause to recognize the contributions of each generation, the people who dreamed that we could save more lives and have less suffering, and then found ways to make it happen.

“EMS Week is never just about the past, however. It’s also about inspiring the EMS clinicians just starting out and the young people who haven’t even discovered EMS yet. 

“It’s about learning from the challenges and building on the successes of the last five decades. It’s about forging our future—a future in which the next generation has the tools they need to deliver compassionate care and alleviate suffering in communities everywhere,” their website states.

“EMS is usually all about the moment. Thinking about your last patient could distract you from what’s happening to the person lying on the stretcher in front of you right now. 

“Worrying too much about the next call isn’t too helpful, when you have no idea what it might bring. But the past holds immense lessons.

“Whether it’s the experience of the people who train us or the struggles and triumphs from EMS’s earliest days,” their website states.

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