Emergency medical services not a job, but a calling

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 10:11 am on Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kristen Scholten, left, is an emergency medical technician specialist for Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services. She is pictured with her rescue vehicle and extrication helmet in downtown Greenville. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week is being observed throughout the United States this week.

This year’s theme is “EMS: More Than a Job. A Calling.”

The theme sums up how Erik Rood and Kristen Scholten feel about their duties.

Rood, 30, of Greenville, is a paramedic, while Scholten, 35, of Greenville, is a specialized emergency medical technician. Both work for Montcalm County EMS.

Rood first became interested in rescue work when he became a volunteer fireman for the Lakeview District Fire Department.

“I was interested in serving the community on a volunteer basis,” he said.

Scholten is an emergency medical technician specialist, which is more advanced than a regular emergency medical technician, but not as advanced as a paramedic. She is currently studying to become a paramedic, as well as a registered nurse.

“I love helping people,” she said. “The most rewarding part of my job is helping someone.”

While Rood and Scholten respond to a vast array of emergencies on a daily basis, they both say the most common 911 calls are related to chest pains, shortness of breath and overdoses. Unfortunately, they’ve seen an increase in overdoses among young people lately. Overdoses and trauma accidents are among the most difficult to respond to.

“Every call has its own challenges,” Rood said. “The best part of the job is when we can help someone out, save a life.”

“I hope it raises awareness among people to take some CPR classes or learn about the dangers of mixing medications,” added Scholten of EMS Week.

Montcalm County EMS is a 24/7 ambulance transport and medical first responder entity that employs about 100 people, according to Director Dave Feldpausch. Employee licenses include medical first responders, emergency medical technicians/specialists and paramedics. There are 35 employees on the ambulance division and nine advanced life support ambulances with three to five in service at regular intervals. A total of 54 rescue division employees are paid on call. There are 10 primary rescue vehicles and two back-up vehicles.

EMS staff members include Feldpausch, Deputy Director Eric Smith, Supervisors Doris Case, Brandon Mulnix and Chris Olson and office staff Pamela Boody and Dawn Winright.

“All of our employees are highly trained and dedicated to serving the residents of Montcalm County,” Feldpausch said. “For most of us, it is not only what we do, it is a big part of who we are as individuals. They work hours most would not want, in all types of conditions, hoping for the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Erik Rood is a paramedic for Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services. He is pictured with the Alpha 7 ambulance at an M-46 truck stop just north of Howard City. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

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