If the pastor shows up at your house in Faro, it may not be to ease you into the afterlife; it may be he’s there with Emergency Medical Services to keep you alive.
Pastor Ted Baker is a Clark Kent of sorts, as are all the volunteers who provide Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the communities. They work at regular jobs, but serve a vital role in their communities, providing fast, safe, and skilled emergency medical care to sick or injured people being transported to the closest healthcare facility.
Baker finds his role as an EMS attendant complements his role as Pastor. “It’s a great helping profession to be in,” he said. “In a small community, we get to know every patient.”
EMS attendants develop a rapport with local health care professionals, especially the nurses who triage emergency calls and dispatch the volunteers over radio.
“We really are a team, they trust us and we trust them,” Baker said.
Baker admits volunteering for EMS isn’t for everyone, there is an 80-hour training regime to become a volunteer, and then a commitment involving regular shifts carrying a radio, sleeping with one ear open and one leg in the uniform, not to mention the stress involved in being the front line of medical care in your own community.
“I just enjoy this type of work. You’re always a hero,” he said.
Heroes they are, but often their heroic feats happen in obscurity. Paramedics — volunteer or full-time — do their work inside airplanes and ambulances, inside the homes of the ill or injured, in the shadows behind grocery stores, and in the blur of trauma.
They aren’t expecting recognition; they are doing their job.
“The fact that I get to help people in their moment of need is fulfilling,” Baker explained.
EMS attendants may not expect recognition, but once a year volunteers get together for a general meeting with training and a friendly but challenging competition, capped off by an awards ceremony.
This October, Gabe Ellis and David Bennett of Pelly Crossing went home with the Neale Wortley Cup, the first place award for the Annual Skills Competition. Second place went to Stephanie Hedley and Daniel Staley of Whitehorse, with Third prize going to Mike Perry and Saskia Robbins of Dawson City.
Baker was excited to see Cyndy Bekk — a stay at home mom who runs a bed and breakfast in Faro — receive the Bruce Harder Memorial Award. This award is given to an attendant or crew who works well with others; has great attitude and team spirit; shows leadership and is caring and committed to their community.
“She doesn’t miss a beat, it was a joy to see her get the award,” Baker said. “She keeps me on my toes, I’m glad to have her on the crew.”
Scott Stewart and Cathy Brais both received the Excellence in EMS Award, while Rick Christianson went home with the Bea Felker Award for a supervisor who demonstrates leadership, while exemplifying Felker on the job through punctuality, diligence with paperwork, and dedication to learning.
The Watson Lake crew was given the Beyond the Call of Duty Award, a rarely handed out and situation-specific recognition given to an attendant or crew who performed well in a difficult environment and went above and beyond the requirements of the position while staying positive and safe.
Jaclyn Killins is a writer, retired treeplanter, and mom
who lives in a cabin near Whitehorse. Her family recently splurged on running water.