CoronavirusEvansvilleIndiana

Local Emergency Medical Responders Return From New York Frontlines

Some Tri-State first responders are taking their skills on the road to help with the pandemic response.

“It doesn’t matter where it is, if they needed us we were going in to help,” says Jon Atherton, paramedic.

“Its a privilege to be able to help someone in need when they need that”

“I think whenever you look around, you work in something as large as EMS and you see other people that need you, you go,” says Stacy Steele, EMT.

They are the ones answering the call.

“I had like 12 hours to pack, get my stuff ready, and leave,” says Chantelle Kinder, paramedic.

This team of EMTs and paramedic spending the last several weeks working where COVID-19 hit the hardest.

“So we were being dispatched by New York City. It was quite an experience getting around,” says Thomas Randolph, paramedic supervisor.

“We were stationed outside of the Bronx, but we were working around Yonkers, New York,” says Ben Hicklin, EMT.

A challenge the crew faced head on.

“Just when you work that many days in a row and you don’t have time off and you’re out of your element it’s just kind of hard,” says Nick Berkeley, EMT.

“It’s the same job that we do here, but the difference is there are so many more people and then you throw in the COVID factor, the busiest 12 hour shift that I had was 14 runs, so its pretty quick whenever it is busy,” says Stacy Steele, EMT.

“The run volume it was constant. I worked night shift from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and the radio went non-stop. Everyone was getting runs,” says Atherton.

They say they were well equipped with PPE throughout their journey, similar to back here in the Tri-State.

While some on the team admit to being scared, most didn’t know what to expect, but the experience was eye-opening.

“When you see people suffer like that, it makes you take every little gift, you really, really value that,” says Ashley Harper, EMT/paramedic student.

Upon their return from a place struck hard by the virus, Randolph shares this message for people here at home.

“COVID is real,” says Randolph. “It hasn’t gone away. I don’t think it’s going to for quite some time and we need to take care of ourselves and each other.”

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