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LETTERS: County EMS volunteers desperately needed

County EMS volunteers desperately needed

To the editor:

In this time of great struggle with our economy, we have lost many things. Some have lost their jobs and are struggling to survive.

The rest of us are trying to survive from paycheck to paycheck.

Families have two working parents, which has resulted in a loss of volunteerism in our communities and around the county. Most are seeking part-time employment to help them through these tough times.

In the last year, I have witnessed many of our EMS personnel having to leave the county for employment opportunities. Recently we lost two EMS personnel to full-time employment opportunities outside of our county. While this pleases me to see our people get jobs in the field and advance their skills, it also leaves vacancies and the need to find replacements.

In our smaller communities, it has become increasingly difficult to find people who are willing to give their time to a very rewarding service that doesn’t put a lot of money in their pockets.

Perhaps it is time to look at a full-time paid service in Marion County. By doing this, we would lose our quick response times to some of our smaller communities. I am studying the economic ways of accomplishing this. The options are not great.

The bottom line is that we need more young people willing to give us a few hours a month to serve their communities. I have had the pleasure of teaching eight, young students in the past year and they are now in the last stages of gaining their certificates.

I will begin to teach a first responder class Aug. 4 that will allow young and old an opportunity to serve their communities without many of the hassles of becoming an EMT.

A first responder serves much like an EMT except they would assist in care and then become the driver in a transport unit. This allows the opportunity to those who may not want to spend the extra time in classes.

Anybody interested may call the EMS office for more information at (620) 382-3271. A grant allows us to teach the class at no cost to the student if applications are filled out in our office before the class begins.

EMS is not the only place I have seen a loss of volunteerism. Committees and activities have struggled to find people willing to give up free time to help a project or cause. What is the answer to this problem and how do we create a solution?

Everyone has become increasingly busy with activities of children and families. Yet we still struggle to find people interested in coaching and volunteering to assist in their children’s activities.

The bottom line is that we need volunteers to fill these positions and we need more people to step up and fill a position within their communities.

We have become a great nation by supporting each other in worthwhile causes. Now is the time to return to our heritage of a giving nation.

Steven Smith

Marion County EMS Director and

Marion City Councilman

Last modified July 15, 2009

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