Orcas man thanks emergency responders for saving life

What we thought were serious flu-like symptoms turned into a 911 call. It was a call my wife Cynthia and I never thought we would have to make.

On Aug. 14, the Deer Harbor unit of our volunteer fire department, paramedic and EMTs converged at my side within 15 minutes, stabilizing me and communicating with the Med Flight personnel and doctors in Bellingham who would arrange for my immediate admittance to the ER at St. Joseph’s Hospital. St. Joseph’s offered me an ER and ICU facility with the shortest flight time for a person in my particular condition (bacterial/septic shock). There is no doubt that the paramedic and EMTs’ quick response, emergency training and timely communication with both the Med Flight services and doctors awaiting my arrival were a significant part of “saving my life.”

Obviously, my experience has been a life changing event for me and my family. Our love of Orcas Island and its wonderful “sense of community” dramatically came to life in a very personal way. My experience certainly confirms the fact that I have taken many core services we continuously enjoy on Orcas for granted: the fire department, paramedics, and volunteer EMTs. I wish my story, which is having a successful and happy conclusion, will give us cause to recognize and celebrate more regularly and publicly the “quiet services” that surround us. We need to appreciate that there is a group, including volunteers, who quietly and without fanfare, stand ready 24/7 to assist us during our lives most difficult moments. Let’s all remember to thank these people.

How do I say thank you to a group of people who are, as they say, just doing their job? I, for one, look forward to supporting their very important work in anyway that I can.

Below is a list of, I believe, those who were directly responsible for making it possible for me to sit at my computer today and tell my story. Thank you to each and everyone of you: Dwight Guss, Rita Harvey, Julie Remington, George Schermerhorn, Patrick Shepler, Laura Trevellyan, Paul Turner, and Dr. Mike Sullivan.

Sam Coleman

Deer Harbor