‘I can do difficult:’ North Country residents complete EMT-Basic program at Thousand Islands Rescue Service

ABC50 NOW

CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — Several North Country residents have advanced their careers in emergency medicine.

On June 12, Thousand Islands Rescue Services graduated 17 residents from the Emergency Medical Technicians Basic program. The course requires each participant to complete six hours of classes each week for a semester.

Participants, starting at 15 years old, learned skills such as oxygen administration, advanced bleeding and shock management, dealing with diabetic emergency as well as host of additional medical issues.

The ceremony was hosted in Clayton, New York by the class instructor and Pamela Jones, EMT-P, who led the class with the mantra “I can do difficult,” following many restrictions the class had to follow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are all as strong as our weakest link,” shared Jones. “So I’m asking all of us that are here to help with my new EMT’s to help them become just as strong, as I was.”

Leading the ceremony was Jefferson County EMS Chaplin Father Sam Lundy.

Additional guests included Clayton Mayor Norma Zimmer who pinned each graduate, TIERS Operation Director Michael Bennet and Assemblyman Mark Walzcyk.

“Not only did you complete a very difficult course in a very short amount of time, you did it amongst [COVID-19 difficulties. Which is almost unheard of to be done in an in-person environment. I can’t say for certain, but I don’t know of any classes that were meeting regularly,” added Bennet.

Another honored guest, who was also a member of the class was Clayton Fire Department’s Richard, “Doc,” Withington. “Doc” spoke to his classmates and presented his book on tips to be an EMT.

“I hope they’ll find that there is some real pleasure to be derived and a lifetime of being involved in EMS,” expressed Withington.

Thousand Islands Rescue Service Board Chairman Rowland, “Bud,” Baril also spoke on his pride in the program and how this will enhance the EMS community in the North Country.

“So when you think that [some] started at 15 [years old] and they’re graduating from the EMT programs and going on to the other schools, or into the upper level and paramedic and so on. It’s just unbelievable,” shared Baril.

Members who were honored at the June 12 ceremony included Tammy Belgrade, Quinlyn Ormsby, Dustin Cooley, Miachel Paladino, Andrew Deierlein, Kari Parrow, Sophia Devito, Annika Radtke, Jordan Dove, Helen Scheinider, Maxwell Dove, Tricia Thompson, Julia Duffany, Alan Wilson, Jennifer Hicks and Jared O’Brien.

This is the second round of graduates the Thousand Islands Rescue Service has honored. The first round of the program was held in 2019, but then put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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