‘You’re still doing it..’

Submitted by: Jen

Two years ago I joined my town’s rescue squad and met volunteers of all ages. One of the volunteers was jokingly introduced as the legend. Shrugging it off to an inside joke, I let it go.

After a few months of getting to know the history of the squad I noticed a trend in recent pictures, the ‘legend’ was in most if not all of them. Starting at late teenage years to present mid thirties. He rose in rank from junior squad to senior member and is well on his way to being one of the dinosaurs. Most of the members in his generation had quit during first five years but he endured and continued to volunteer.

I was lucky enough to ride a few shifts and see him at work. Regardless of the hour the bell rang the grumpy burned out legend would get up and get moving. His interaction with patients always compassionate and always professional. The trust he has earned with paramedics in two separate states is witnessed immediately watching the interaction during patient care transfer.

To hear the war stories, you can only wonder how he continued. These aren’t just 9-1-1 calls, these are friends and their families calling for help. He’s been there when close friends lost their loved ones, was a shoulder to cry on and showed up for his next shift. I’ve had the honor to know and love this man for a year and I enjoy nothing more than when we are out in public and someone walks up wide-eyes saying,”jeesh Stites you’re still on the squad!”

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