Monday, July 2, 2012

Endings and New Beginnings

This has been one very strange weekend.  On Friday night I put on my Clayton EMS uniform for the last time.  I had an awesome partner, one who many other members didn't want to work with.  Not because he was a bad EMT.  He is an excellent EMT.  He and I have a similar personality the tell it to you straight kind and folks like us don't always gel well with others.  At any rate, over the last 6 years some of my best shifts were with him.  We've run some pretty messed up stuff and a lot of routine stuff.  I always knew that I could count on him to give me all the info I would need and that I would never have to ask him for anything.  Qualities in a partner that are hard to come by these days.

When our shift was over it all hit me in waves.  He's not going to the bigger agency and so we may never see each other again.  I gave him a hug and he got in his car and drove away for the last time.  That's when the gravity of it all hit me.  My family that I've grown to love and care about is going their separate ways.  Many of us are in deed going to the big county agency but not all.  I loaded up my car for the last time, walked out the door for the last time and drove home no longer a part of Clayton Area EMS.

On Sunday I was back to work at the same station I had been Friday night.  As I put on my new uniform I didn't really feel any different.  As I pulled up to the station it hit me that the building may still say Clayton Area EMS but the shirts say Big County EMS.  Every bit of personalization that had lined the halls of the station were gone.  The women's bedroom had new beds and the one that I used to claim was gone.  As I pulled into the parking lot, there were several county supervisor vehicles in the parking lot.  Things just got more strange when I saw my old supervisor, now Division Chief, in the office almost like old times.  I found myself very reminiscent of when I first got hired.  There were a few new faces which made me feel really weird and then I saw some friendly faces.  One of those was a guy, now county supervisor, that I haven't seen in at least 2 years.  It felt like old times sitting outside talking but at the same time it was just so weird.  I never thought I'd see him within the walls of the station again.

I feel very fortunate to still have a job and I look forward to meeting new people but I find myself feeling very homesick.  Just writing this I am tearing up.  What I have grown to know and love is now very different.  Some of the changes I think are for the better and so we'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.

When one chapter ends, another one begins.  I want to thank all the members of Clayton Area EMS for everything.  You guys will never know what you mean to me and I think we've worked enough together that you know I don't show emotions well.  I have grown to love you guys like family and I will be here to help you in any way I can no matter what.  We may not have always seen eye to eye or even liked each other very much, but we are a part of a family and family sticks together.  I thank each of you for friendship, advice and growth.  I can't possibly name everyone and what it was that they did to change me and help me grow but each of you has had an impact on me that I just can't put into words.  I never thought I'd get so fortunate to become a part of a great squad and I thank those who welcomed me and helped me over the years.  So now I can finally say goodbye Clayton EMS.  I will cherish the memories and the friendships that I've made for years to come.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Ending of an Era

     August 2006 I went to interview for my first paying medic job.  I had already been offered a part time position with a neighboring agency and I was anxious for this interview.  I was also still waiting on my state results since I had recently taken the state exam.  I bombed that interview.  I walked out of there feeling like an idiot and was pretty sure I wouldn't be hearing anything from them.  A short time later I received the letter in the mail.  Again another part time offer.  I was starting to think that I'd never find a full time job.
     I will never forget when I got the call.  My partner and I were working at the airport and were washing our unit when my phone rang.  I abandoned my partner long enough to take the call.  It was the chief and he offered me a full time spot.  After I got off the phone with him, I was in complete shock and told my partner what had happened.  He suggested that I take it since I didn't have any other offers.  Looking back at it now I really need to thank him.  Thanks Donovan.  You don't know how that push really changed my life.
     I remember my first shift at Clayton Area Rescue.  I felt like a fish out of water.  I was in a different county than where I had trained.  My only sanity rested in a coworker whom I also worked with at the volunteer agency.  She has since gone on to work for a local PD.  I miss you Lindsay :)
     I have been at Clayton since October 2006 and this past Monday we were informed that in a few short months, the county will be coming in and assuming operations.  I have met a lot of good people during my time here.  I've made friends, enemies and everything in between.  I've watched the changing of the guard a few times and I've had the privilege of working with some of the best folks around.  I am truly going to miss the family atmosphere and seeing the god awful ugly orange trucks roaming the town.  I want to thank each member of Clayton Area EMS that I have had the privilege of working with past and present for the memories.  I never thought I'd see the day that the county would come in and take over.
     These next few months won't feel the same.  Everyone is a little down now.  We all are still processing and wondering what the next step is.  I keep telling everyone to keep your head up.  Advice I need to follow as well.  Let's stick together.  Keep our heads held high.  Let's leave knowing that we've done the best job we could and that unfortunately the actions of some have brought this upon us.
     I want to give special thanks first to Josh.  You believed in me and pushed for me to get hired.  Stefan, you took a chance on a brand new, scared medic and you have done good by me and my family over the years.  I know we don't talk very often now but I do consider you and Deidra friends.  Jason, you unknowingly have been a mentor of mine.  We sometimes would lock horns but in the end we always get past the crap.  Dale, you were my link to sanity and I loved working shifts with you.  It was nice to see a friendly face from the big neighboring county.  Lindsay, Emily, Candler, Justin, Zack, and Chris, you guys were my favorites to work with.  We always had a really good time; times I have missed for a long time.  
     I am going to miss walking through those doors with a relaxed vibe.  I will miss the late nights, practical jokes and the family first attitude.  I will miss the FDs that I've worked with over the years.  Goodbye Clayton Area EMS.  I will always hold a special place in my heart for this place.