Military Veteran Continues Service As Claremore Paramedic
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - From military service to emergency services - becoming an EMT often helps military veterans transition back to civilian life after deployment.
It takes a special kind of person to be a paramedic; in fact, many veterans are finding the inside of an ambulance just as familiar as the front lines of a battlefield.
"It's just dedication. You learn dedication, you learn, you know, what duty is," said Erik Dickover, Pafford EMS paramedic.
These are the lessons Pafford EMS Paramedic Erik Dickover says he learned in his eight years in the U.S. military. But when he came home, a whole new set of lessons had to be learned.
"So I came back, and became a regular citizen and that was really hard," he said.
So Dickover became a paramedic.
"I wake up every morning and I go to bed every day, and I think about every single person that I touched that day," said Erik Dickover, paramedic.
Helping his community, he realized, was helping him heal from the things he saw during deployment.
"If you take a lot of stuff in and you don't take advantage of the family that's around you, it's gonna get you," he said.
That's why his emergency management community has been so important to him.
"This whole - Pafford is a family. The whole unit. It's a family, and I felt that the day I walked in the front door," he said.
And that is the kind of environment Director of Operations Charles Wadsworth, a veteran himself, hopes to foster for his employees.
"It just makes me feel great to be able to help them, give them a job and know that we are helping them to continue on, even with all of the things that they have been through," Wadsworth said.
So that even more veterans, can move forward with life, after deployment.
"There's a lot of highs, a lot of lows, but to be good at this job, to be truly good at it you have to have a passion for it, you have to have it in your blood," said Paramedic Erik Dickover, Pafford EMS.
This week is EMS week, a time set aside to honor the contributions that EMS workers provide to each of their communities.