EMS week honors all emergency medical personnel
May 26—GOSHEN — Much of the Goshen area is manned by Emergency Medical Service personnel from the Goshen Fire Department.
A proclamation from Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb honored men and women serving in such a capacity this week for National Emergency Medical Services Week.
In Goshen, Goshen firefighter and paramedic Lucas Wickey was promoted to the role of EMS sergeant effective May 22, following the passing of Goshen's Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Nethercutt.
A 3 1/2-year veteran of the department, Wickey's recent promotion will engage him in performing training, scheduling ambulance personnel, and being the go-to person for newer paramedics in need of information. It's an entry-level management position on the EMS side of the department, but at Goshen fire, the majority of the calls are EMS-related.
"It seems like it can be a chess match, really, with highly involved medical calls," Wickey said. "It can be two of us — it can be me and my most junior, me and my most senior — just the two of us. Anything from a five-car pileup to an elderly woman that fell down the stairs to a heart attack to anything in between. The odds are stacked against us because we really don't have a choice but to win against those odds for the patient's sake."
From childhood, Wickey said he knew he wanted to become a firefighter. He lived across the street from two firefighters growing up.
"I would see (Anthony Powell) leave on calls to go do things, and I would think, 'That seems worth it to me,'" Wickey recalled. "Because there is a lot that we give up. There's a lot of holidays we give up, but it all seems worth it in the end when you think of the impact."
Wickey tried to get the notion out of his mind because he knew becoming a paramedic firefighter would be a dangerous job. He even went to IU South Bend, got a health sciences degree, and interned with Notre Dame football.
"It was an outstanding experience, but it left me wanting to do more," he said. At Goshen fire, he continues to use his degree as a peer fitness trainer for the department, but he also does a lot more.
"People should really understand the service that an ALS ambulance provides in this community," Wickey said. "Goshen Fire Department is the last paramedic ambulance on that side of the county. Because of that, when places like Milford, New Paris, Clinton, Jefferson, Benton, all of these places, when they need a paramedic ambulance, it's Goshen that answers that call. That's something that I'm very appreciative of. I have a wife and a small son that live in our response area and it gives me a small amount of pride to know the degree of professionalism and the knowledge that will allow us to win."
The learning never ends either, and every day is different.
"That's another huge plus side for us on the department day-to-day because it's ever changing," Wickey said. "You just never know what you're going to walk into. During COVID, we would go days without a call. We'd just kind of sit there and think, 'Man, what are we doing?' Then there's days where you miss every meal, you don't sleep. ... I still feel like I'm treading water. It's just ever-changing environment. We get new things from the opioid epidemic to COVID to ebola, all of these different things that we all a sudden have to become masters of. Once you feel like you're getting your feet under you, something new comes out — which to some can be frustrating, but to the majority of us it can be fun. We're all students, no matter if you've been here 40 years or one year."
Highly trained, Goshen Fire Department's personnel are both paramedics and firefighters, and they act in both capacities throughout each 12-hour tour.
"Truthfully, we feel good doing it," Wickey said. "The vast majority of our members live work and play in the Goshen area, so we take a little bit more pride in our work — it could be our family, our friends, or someone we know."
Dani Messick is the education and entertainment reporter for The Goshen News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 574-538-2065.