Back in the 1970’s, my dad decided to take his shot at getting involved in the town’s First Aid Squad. When I was born in 1978, he stepped away from hit to be a father. In early 1992, he began working on getting his EMT Certification Recertified and rejoined the Island Heights First Aid Squad.
Island Heights is a very small town at the Jersey shore. Approximately a mile by a mile, it has a year round population of 1,500 people, and gets a little higher in the Summer Time. Throughout the late 80’s and most of the 90’s, the majority of the EMS Runs the Island Heights First Aid Squad had were during the day, Monday thru Friday in neighboring Dover Township, now known officially as Toms River. Annually, they would run around 500-600 calls a year, about 150 of those in town.
My dad was involved in EMS for about 6 months when my mom got tired of just sitting around listening to the pager go off all day. She decided that she would give this whole “EMS thing” a try. Her first year was very tough. She lost 15 lbs, and on some early mornings would cry when the pager would go off, although she probably wouldn’t admit to that today. She scaled things back a bit, and started running more abbreviated hours, and then decided that EMS really was for her.
Through out the 90’s, my parents became more and more involved in EMS in the town. They both served as Captain, my dad spent time as Squad President, and they’ve both been the most active members of the squad for the last 18 years, and most importantly, they’ve been an inspiration to me.
I got involved in EMS at the age of 15 as a Cadet with the Island Heights First Aid Squad, following in the footsteps of my parents. Say what you want about young people in EMS, but I think I handled myself the right way and learned how to be the right kind of EMT because of my parents, their involvement in the squad and their involvement in my early years in this field. They supported me when I went to EMT School two nights a week after spending all day at High School. They supported me when I decided to make EMS my career, and I picked Springfield College and moved away from home, and they’ve supported me every step of the way since, as I decide what the next step in my career will be.
Today, I got a phone call from my mother. The town’s recreation committee has decided to dedicate this year’s town Christmas Tree to my parents in recognition for their years of service to the town. For as long as I can remember, my parents have reinforced to me how proud they are of my accomplishments, well now the tables have been turned. I couldn’t be more proud of my parents than I am right now.
The tree lighting is going to be Sunday night, and I’m going to do everything in my power to be there.
Congratulations, Karen and Peter Kier, two of the best, most caring providers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, and above all else, the best parents I could ever ask for.