Tag Archives: Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services

Memorial Day EMTs

“06880” reader Gladys Handelman just sent this Memorial Day story along.  It’s definitely worth waiting for:

On Monday, Gladys was watching the parade at a private home next to Town Hall.  She was on one side of a low stone wall; a senior woman was on the other, with her adult daughter.

Suddenly the daughter yelled:  “Mom, are you alright?”  The mother was standing but her head was down, her eyes closed.

The daughter shouted several more times, urgently.  There was no response.

At that moment in the parade, the Emergency Medical Service trucks passed by.  The daughter flagged one down.

The truck stopped.  Within moments, the mother was on a stretcher — whisked away quickly, carefully and compassionately.

Few people saw what happened — but that’s the way it is with Westport EMS. 

Even in the midst of the Memorial Day parade, they don’t take holidays.

Alan Yoder’s EMS Years

Alan Yoder

Alan Yoder

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.