Today, a group of those of us who worked "back in the days" of NYC * EMS got together for a BBQ in a park in Harlem. Many of the older folks you see in the picture are truly legends in the EMS community. No, at first glance you wouldn't think so but some of these folks drove Cadillac and "bread box" ambulances, brought their own jumper cables to hook up & use the siren during the time when the city wouldn't allow ambulances to have them, wore the white uniforms and pea coats of hospital attendants. These were some of the First Paramedics in New York City, Viet Nam vets, The folks who would walk up 27 flights of stairs and carry down a patient when the elevator didn't work. There's a Lot more I could say about them, all True but I don't want to Bore you. Many of these folks have forgotten more about EMS then many today know.
As a group of (mostly) retirees, it was quite interesting to hear what they had been up to. They mostly have kept busy, doing everything from becoming Physician Assistants, teaching High school, going into Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs, owning businesses and houses. A few are still bearing the Heavy Price for their participation in 9/11 with recurring illnesses, PTSD, that limits them to living far from most folks and being stressed by being there at the BBQ; even knowing that they wanted to be there to Catch up with Old Partners and Friends. Some couldn't make it, their Cancer, their Asthma too severe. All were missed. We also took a moment to Remember those of us who had passed on this year. Many stories were told, much food was consumed, much Fun was had getting together.
Those of us still working talked about the status of our Contract Negotiations with the city, where we were & who we were working with, and how we were getting on. EMS is a Thankless Job. I am certainly not the first to say this, nor will I be the last. The people who do this come from Many different backgrounds but we share in the Rescuer personality: We like to help Others so much that we do this job for Far less then many others would, put up with a Lot of BS while doing it and for some of us, doing this gives us injuries and illnesses that are Permanent. We have also found Family and Life-long Friends here, experiences Bonding us. I feel Proud to be a part of this group. I am not in this picture as I had to take pictures for many others but next year, I will be in it!