The Ely Times

A first responder is the first on scene and the first to give patient care, and most times often the difference between a patient’s life or death. Many times they show up and people don’t get an opportunity to tell them thank you, so the Elks found a way to thank all Fire and EMS personnel in White Pine County this past Friday.

The Elks Lodge hosted a dinner that was open to the public and the ticket price was minimal. The Elks also had help from several locals and local businesses to provide dinner to more than 75 people. Fire and EMS personnel enjoyed a free meal, and it appeared that for a first time event, this could turn into an event for many years to come.

Nichole Baldwin opened the dinner with a EMT prayer, pledge to the flag, and a heartfelt thank you to all firefighters and EMS who serve in White Pine County.

Baldwin said, “Scripture tells us that each one of us has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold. We can never re-pay you fully for your sacrifices. It’s hard to think of a more selfless profession than fire fighting. There’s a reason why fire fighting occupies a special place.”

Baldwin went on to express the passion of a firefighters willingness to walk through a  fire knowing they might not make it out because they are trying to save people that are strangers.

“From rural communities to inner cities there is a fundamental principle that binds us all as Americans, that I am my brothers keeper, I am my sisters keeper, that we look out for one another, that there’s something bigger, that each of us individually that we have to be true to, similarly people that venture into the profession of emergency medicine are one of a kind,” Baldwin said.

It was reported by Baldwin that a survey was conducted to find out why people enter into EMS and it was revealed it’s people who want to make a difference, who want to help people and want to serve the community.

Baldwin said, “We all know EMS is not a profession of wealth and fame, as entry level practitioners with the only professions less than you might be preschool teachers, dishwashers and meat packers.  The guy on the back of the garbage truck or holding a highway construction zone might make more money than you but none of those people are required to make life or death decisions like you do, and surely none of them are considered unsung heroes like you  are.”

“Emergency medicine profession whose divorce, and substance abuse rates soar far higher than the general population. The average career expectancy of a EMT is five years. Despite all of that, your only selfless is tested time and time again in the wee hours of the night or the holidays, on weekends, during dinners and sitting alone  at your children’s events. Your all a member of a noble and honored profession.”

As Baldwin came to an end in her speech, she spoke of a Bible verse, Matthew 23:11, “The verse tells us the greatest among you will be your servant and that is your mission. You are the extraordinary people that we honor here today. You are extraordinary Americans.  You set an example for all of us, may God bless you, you unsung heroes, may he watch over your family, and protect us and may your shining example inspire us all in our own lives.”

The Cinderella Pageant girls helped serve and clean up, Learning Bridge put together all the cards that decorated the walls, and the tables for all of the fire and ems staff to enjoy and take home with them.

A raffle of several items took place, and gift bags for each fire fighter and ems personnel were given out, and sent back to the station for those who could not make it.

Ely City Fire Chief Ross Rivera spoke, expressing how nice it was to see everyone who came out for the dinner. He said, “I look across the room, and there is a lot of people missing I know, but I think one of the greatest assets city and county has are the volunteers for emergency services for all our communities. I feel that we have a lot of experience here, and we have a lot of new younger faces, it only gets better with what were doing.”

Rivera went on expressing his thanks to the Elks and all who helped make this event happen. The City of Ely Fire Department has had 426 calls from Jan. 1 to present day.

White Pine County Chief Bill Ward also was asked to speak to the crowd. Ward praised the crowd by saying, “Most of all I want to thank you guys, regardless of the name that’s on your patch, it’s what’s in your heart that counts, and each and every one of you guys take time from your families to do your training, and be on call 24/7, and that’s what counts.

“It’s in our hearts, it in our DNA, and for some reason once we get it in there, we can’t get it out.  I’m glad to see were all here together, hopefully we can continue to work together in the future, and everything put aside were all one of a kind.”

And while many of us are enjoying ourselves at home, a barbecue, or in the winter months, by a cozy fireplace, the County was responding to calls. The county reported that they have received 659 calls this year since Jan. 1.

Both fire departments operate with the great efforts of volunteers in the county and city.

Rivera said, “I really want to thank my volunteers, a lot of hours going on calls just like everybody, if it wasn’t for them Ely wouldn’t have a fire department or an EMS service, they have been great.”