End of an Era.

So, I received some rather sad news today.  The department that I cut my teeth on, learned how to be a semi-decent medic, closed its doors.

It had been open for over twenty years, first as a BLS Volunteer Department, then as a Combination ALS department.  We didn’t have the best trucks, the best equipment, or even the best base, but we loved that place.  I remember sitting out in the parking lot in the middle of January grilling steaks while we hung with the guys from the police department and the fire department.

If the garage could talk…the stories it would tell….I’m sure I’d go to jail over some of them.

I have to admit, I did have mixed feelings at first.  I didn’t leave there under the best of circumstances and deep down in the places I don’t talk about at parties, I kind of wanted them to fail epically, but in the end, it wasn’t about the service, it was about the people.  I worked with people who I will never forget. They happen to be some of my closest and dearest friends. The memories we have; my very first arrest as a medic that prompted the quote, “What do you mean she’s in Cardiac Arrest?!”, my first shooting that became the county record for fastest incident-to-door time for 3 years running (23 minutes, 45 seconds), fastest on scene time ( 3 minutes, 10 seconds), and being the Medic who got a patient to rap their ABC’s.

The bad; we lost a lot of good people in a very small amount of time, some to LODD, others to the passing of time.  We also had so much drama going on that we all threatened to write a book called, As The Siren Blows…yeah, take that however you want.

I learned so much in my time there.  I learned very quickly that just because I don’t get paid well, doesn’t mean I won’t love it more than the best paid service.  I grew my thick skin; only so many people can call you outside your name before it rolls off of you.  My fighting spirit grew; I can throw down with the best of them.  I don’t shy away from the fight, I jump right into it.  I got to learn how to be a leader, how to deal with the public, the politics, and the media.  I learned that it’s not what you say, it’s how you act.  I also learned that, yes, a little 80 year old woman can and will level a Taurus Judge at you because she’s so out of her mind she thinks you’re breaking into her house.

I left a lot of my soul there.  On the bridge on 890, I left a bit.  In the garage where I tried my first cigar, (loved it), and in the ambulance I had the honor to shroud three times and make ready for a casket, I left my blood, sweat, tears, and soul.  In the trailer where I cooked three Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Super Bowl, and Easter meals, and in the office where I wrote some of the hardest reports of my life and where I received some of the greatest news.

My bosses, for what it’s worth, were fantastic.  Every two weeks, without fail, our paychecks were mounted on the door.  I then found out that, quite often, our bosses went without checks themselves, or even falling behind on a personal bill just so we could have our pay.  The one time…the one and only time we went without, we got extra in our next check. That was the period where it was between repairing our one and only truck so we could stay on the road or getting a paycheck; we all voluntarily gave up our checks just so we could stay in business for two more weeks.  Every bad call we had, they met us at the station for a bull session.  They even came in with extra people to man the trucks so we could sit out for as long as we needed.

This is where I learned the lesson, “No matter what happens, as long as the doors go up and the trucks roll out, it’ll all be okay.”

Today is the day where I remember from whence I came.  I salute the good times, mourn the bad times, and laugh at everything else in between.

To the crew. I love you guys.  You know who you are.  I miss you terribly.

Much Love,


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