TAYLOR COUNTY—When a medical emergency occurs, the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics from Taylor County Emergency Squad (TCEMS) are ready to respond. To help commend all that these devoted individuals do, the squad celebrated National EMS Week.
National EMS Week, in its 47th year, was instituted as a way to applaud EMS practitioners and the important work they do in the nation’s communities. This year’s celebration was held this week, May 15-21.
Throughout the week, local businesses and community members donated meals to help show the TCEMS staff some love.
“Each day, for EMS Week, we have been provided with meals for both our day and evening shifts, from various businesses,” explained TCEMS Director Gavin Watkins. “They offered to feed us to help show their support and appreciation for us and our work in the community. It was a very, very nice gesture and greatly appreciated!”
He shared that on Sunday, Leonard’s Grill provided a delicious meal; Monday was Jerry’s; Tuesday’s meal was delivered by Lesa’s Place; Wednesday’s meal was purchased through a generous donation made by Delegate Amy Summers; Wednesday night, an employee appreciation cookout was held at the squad; pizza from Hometown Pizza was on the menu Thursday; on Friday, staffers were treated to Subway; and for Saturday, White Front Tavern and Grill offered up a tasty meal.
To further honor the work done by the dedicated individuals at TCEMS, EMTs and medics were treated to special gifts from the entity such as new uniforms, including shirts, polos, pants, belts, job shirts and boots, a stainless-steel mug and water bottle.
“We are proud of the work that our employees do,” Watkins voiced. “We have come a long way in the past year. We are currently fully staffed with 28 employees, including 10 paramedics, six full-time and four part-time; 17 EMTs, 13 full-time and four part-time and one QA Specialist.”
Not only is the squad fully staffed, but the entity boasts seasoned medics who bring with them vital experience that can be passed on to those who are just starting out in the field.
“We have an amazing talented group of individuals working for TCEMS. Not only do they bring a wealth of medical knowledge but a sense of caring and compassion that our community deserves,” Watkins voiced.
“We are also happy to announce that Brian LaRue has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant,” Watkins added. “We are so proud of his accomplishment!”
Not only has the staff grown, but work has been completed to ensure that TCEMS is outfitted with newer technologies and apparatuses.
And to help shed light on the improvements made within the past year at TCEMS, and as a way to discuss the future of the EMS, Watkins invited Delegate Amy Summers to come and tour the facility, check out some of the updated and upgraded features on the new ambulances and learn about needs of the entity.
During her visit, Delegate Summers touched on funding for EMS agencies and how the state government was working to try and secure more money. One main area of discussion was the growth that TCEMS has seen, and because of that growth, they are in need of a new building.
“We will have four ambulances in our fleet, and there just isn’t enough space in the garage that we currently have,” Watkins voiced. “So, we know that in the future, we are going to have to find a solution.”
Summers expressed that she was pleased with the work that had been done at the EMS, recalling how things were when she ran with the squad for nearly 20 years. One of the upgrades she seemed happiest with is the new load system and new safety features present on each ambulance.
“That’s it! I’m coming back,” she joked with Watkins and Lieutenant Michelle Mayle. “The new enhancements made are just wonderful and much needed!”
Summers voiced that she was excited to have been invited to visit TCEMS saying, “I’ve been here a long time and I’ve wanted to come. I’m excited to see the leadership and the changes that are being made here, because this is very valuable for Taylor County. When you call 911, you want an ambulance to come if you need help. You need good resources, you need good service, and it looks like they’re doing that here.”
Watkins wanted to remind residents that TCEMS will be set up along the annual Memorial Day Parade route with cooling stations, to help ensure that everyone stays happy and healthy during the celebration.
“We will also have additional staff on during the annual Spirit of Grafton Festival,” Watkins noted. “And get ready to see us out and about at events and gatherings, as we plan to be more present within the community!”