Thirty years ago — in addition to many other chores — Westport police officers drove ambulances.
There had to be a better way, people thought, and Emergency Medical Services was born. Ed Audley recruited personnel. Among the first was Alan Yoder — a pretzel truck driver who’d worked as a summer EMT at Sherwood Island.
EMS grew rapidly. Today the non-profit organization staffs several ambulances. It also raises funds to purchase all vehicles, equipment, communication gear and training material.
EMTs are on duty 24/7/365. They respond to over 2,100 medical emergencies a year, while also staffing sporting events and other community activities.
Last week Yoder — the EMS coordinator — left the organization he’d been a key part of for 30 years. (His wife also retired recently, after 25 years of service.) On July 1 he took the town’s retirement incentive. He looks forward to teaching emergency medicine, as he did early in his career.
Yoder will miss the excitement of working emergencies and taking care of patients. But he looks back with pride at helping create a nationally recognized, self-sufficient corps of committed men and women.
He’s been thanked more times than he can count. “Knowing you made a difference in people’s lives — that why we do this,” he says.
For 30 years, Yoder did it — quietly, compassionately, calmly and professionally.
Thanks, Alan — and thanks too for helping create a corps that will carry on your legacy so well.