I have experienced a lot in my life and being a 9-1-1 supervisor has allowed me to learn more about emergency services and those who work in the field. Today I got the chance to interview Joel Thompson, a Plainwell EMS paramedic. The audio story, which can be heard by following the link below, sheds light on what makes him tick, his educational background and what he enjoys most about his job. A big thanks goes out to Thompson, Plainwell EMS, and Allegan County Central Dispatch for assisting in this project.
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By Ricardo — 3 years ago
Let’s be honest. I’ve been pretty excited since I found out I’d won the Within the Trenches continuing education scholarship. I live in a coastal, college town so summer starts in March. With the weather getting warmer – the calls are getting crazier. This was a good opportunity to step away and reframe things. I left work Friday, June 10 and packed for a flight that left Wilmington around 0700 Saturday morning. The 2016 NENA Conference was held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. The conference brought public safety employees and vendors- from telecommunicators to PSAP Directors; IT guys, network architects, and others – together to discuss the state of the industry and technological advancements in the field as well as future trends. Classes were offered in professional development, training, leadership/management, etc. Sunday’s pre-conference class, Cybersecurity in the PSAP, was by far my favorite. It took on different types of cyber threats that occur in today’s society and looked at methods PSAP’s can use to combat threats and keep their networks secure. Sunday night closed out with the Kickoff Celebration. Georgia St got shut down by NENA members and Wally and the Beavs! A food truck is one of my favorite things in the world. There was a diverse selection (I passed up barbecue for a killer Chicago style dog. I heard the OR Pulled Chicken was pretty good too.) It was nice to mingle with the crowd and get to know some faces. I was able to step out of my comfort zone and find some common ground with new people and gain perspective. We talked shop, television (there aren’t enough episodes of The First 48 to satisfy me), and compared how we do things. NextGen9-1-1 was a major focus. The technology that’s involved and the fact that we are soon going to be able to see videos, to add to the texts and voice we have now – it’s pretty impressive to see where things are headed. Keynote speakers included Jake Wood of Team Rubicon, Boston bombing hero Dr. Natalie Stavas, and Chief Rick Lasky, a career firefighter and chief who emphasizes the importance of family in public safety. To say it was inspiring is an understatement. I was able to take in classes to learn tips on how to work towards being a true leader – to lead by example. Stress management and resiliency also seemed to be common themes. It was good to learn some information I could take back for myself and share with my team. I managed to fit in a little fun here and there after classes too: an afternoon run downtown by Indy’s Canal Walk; Motorola’s reception at the Mavis Arts Center; A baseball game after the Young Professional’s mixer at Victory Field; a tour of Indianapolis’ Airport Authority AOC/EOC… the list goes on. One of the cool parts of the week was getting a chance to check out the vendors and exhibitors! Some of the products I use every day, that make my work easier, were on display. I saw some programs I wish I could get my hands on. An adult moment? Completely staring at a certain dispatch console setup: slick monitors, LED lights, stand/raised console and wishing I could have it (there was even a cup holder for my Venti blonde roast) Total furniture envy took over. INdigital’s own Indy car arcade game set up was a hit with members (made me wish I didn’t suck at video games. The Division makes me want to break things in my house). Even though they weren’t in their normal roles, people still stepped up to help others. The events that happened in Orlando occurred; it was heavy. At the blood drive, there was a line of folks waiting to donate blood. A white sign with a simple hashtag greeted those folks: #OrlandoStrong. The people at this conference save lives every day, why were these days any different? Opportunity. The word has presented itself so much lately. I was fortunate to get to attend a conference where I met folks that I aspire to be like. It made me realize how important what we are all out here doing REALLY is. We can have a broad reach if we work hard to educate people on the 911 system. This was my first but definitely won’t be the last. NENA 2017 in San Antonio looks pretty attractive! Here’s to Ricardo and the people at INdigital that made this possible – you’ve paid it forward. Time to keep it going.
To learn more about Leslie please listen to her tell her story on episode 111 of the podcast below.Post Views: 521
By Ricardo — 8 years ago
In about 4 weeks my daughter Lola will be born. I’m very excited and can’t help but think of the mischief that my kids will get into. They are seven years apart but I’m sure they will get into some shit along the way that will cause my gray hair to sprout. My siblings and I did a lot of things growing up and I’m sure my parents were ready to pull their hair out. This is what wakes me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thinking of the crap we did growing up. Will my kids do the same? They probably will but they will surpass my craziness and probably pull stuff that I would have never dreamed of doing. Growing up I was a good influence on my siblings…well a good influence in the sense of getting them into shit that we got in trouble for. Even though it was my fault though, I had to learn it from somewhere right? The answer is yes! A huge ass YES! It’s safe to say that my older cousins were to blame for some of the stuff I got into.
I’m not complaining though. We had a lot of fun even if it was at my expense but I gained the knowledge and ability to influence those around me. For starters, I got into wrestling in the 80’s. The characters were awesome and the moves looked devastating. Actually, they felt devastating as well because I was the dummy who was there to experiment on. My cousin Russ and Joey were into wrestling and whenever they saw a new move I was the lucky one that was chosen to take it. I felt the wrath of Ric Flair’s “Figure Four Leg Lock”, “The Abdominal Stretch”, and “The Scorpion Deathlock”. It was all in fun but damn did it hurt! They taught me about the on going war between the red ants and black ants. This was taught by pitting them together so that they could battle to the death. We tested my cousin Russ’s cat Knievel to see how many times it would land on its feet when thrown in the air, and surprisingly enough it landed on its feet every time. We were baffled as to how it could do this so fast.
All of that seems minor but when there are no parents around at the time, it feels like you’re getting away with murder. When I got a little older it was my turn to shine. I had a younger brother Fernando (Nando for short) and my younger twin sisters, Crystal and Dee-von. One of the first things I can remember introducing to them was American Gladiators. Remember Joust from that show? I do and it was one of our favorite parts. So what better way to spend time with my siblings than to create our own version of Joust? We made our teams, gathered some pillows, and positioned our coffee table so that if we fell off it we would land on the couch. Pretty simple right? Not at all. The first few matches went well and it was fun but the last match came with an injury. My sister Dee-von slipped off the table and cracked her side on the way down. Till this day she still has a scar around her ribs. It was not good but she wasn’t all that hurt anyway. At least I don’t think she was all that hurt. Another good time was when my brother and I bought boxing gloves from an MC Sporting Goods store that was relocating. Everything was on sale so we bought the gloves for cheap. We boxed each other for a while and eventually we got bored. We were looking for something to do and decided to pit our sisters against each other. We brought them down to our spooky ass basement and put the gloves on them. We picked a side and began to coach them but they wouldn’t fight. We tried everything and finally I turned to Crystal and told her that Dee-von had said she was ugly.
That’s all it took and Crystal screamed toward Dee-von. They were about 4 or 5 so the gloves went all the way up their arms and they swung wildly at each other. Not one of them could connect with a good punch. Nando and I cheered and laughed as they struggled to lift the gloves. Finally Crystal connected and clocked Dee-von in the face. She started to cry. They hugged each other and cried together.
“You’re my sister and I love you.”
We booed them for stopping. The fun was now over and my brother and I ran. Why did we run you ask? They yelled very loud and we were doomed.
My sisters yelled for our father and Nando and I split. All you could see was the smoke we left behind as we ran. We got upstairs and immediately went outside to play basketball. We started in the middle of a game of HORSE to throw off my dad but it didn’t help. We were screwed!
“Rich! Nando! Get your asses in here!”
“What’s up dad”, I asked sheepishly.
“Why are the twins crying?”
“I don’t know. Do you know Nando?”
“Nope, I don’t know what happened.”
“See dad? They must have been…”
“Don’t lie to me! They told me that you guys made them fight with the boxing gloves.”
“What!? Come on da..”
“Both of you get in the room!”
This was not good. We were caught and there was no way out of it. What made things worse was the fact that whenever we got in trouble like this, my dad would wait by our bedroom door to spank us on the way in. I had always let it happen but this time I was ready to shake things up. I decided to run in so that I could bypass his swinging arm and right as I passed him he snagged me. I was sure I could dodge it but I was not lucky. It hurt like a bitch and it was Nando’s turn. He took a deep breath and took off running. My dad swung his arm to spank him and Nando dodged it. I was happy for him and Nando was happy. He had the biggest smile on face until,
“NANDO! Now you just made it worse. I’ll be back with the belt!”
He started crying and I felt really bad for him. My dad never came back with the belt though. I guess he figured that Nando was scared enough to not do it again. This is just a sample of the shit we used to do growing up. I wonder what my kids are going to pull on me? Logan already has a crazy imagination so I’m sure once Lola is old enough they will be causing havoc for their mother and I. Can you recall anything you did as a kid to make your parents go nuts? Have your own kids done anything to trip you out enough to make you believe that it’s payback for the way you were growing up? Share your stories here, I’d love to read and comment on them. Cheers!
P.S. The picture is of myself, my wife, and my siblings. Whenever we see each other we make a point to take one F’d up picture to make our parents proud. 8)Post Views: 543
By Ricardo — 8 years ago
Ah young love. Do you remember your first love? Do you remember your first love note? If your first love note was around elementary or within middle school you probably received a straight up “I love you” note or a “Do you like me? Circle yes or no.” It’s interesting how even at a very young age we seek acceptance for what we believe is love. I suppose it is called puppy love, the beginning of the butterflies, and the time when you are in “like” with someone because you are too young to know the difference.
I speak of this because I am currently fascinated with what my seven year son Logan is experiencing in 1st grade. A few weeks ago my wife and I walked to pick him up from school. On our way back two girls rolled up next to Logan on their scooters. The younger of the two, who will be named Jean Grey, said hello to Logan and they took part in a small conversation. Jean’s older sister went ahead and called for Jean and she left but made sure to say good-bye to Logan. As she went ahead I noticed her looking back and smiling at him. I told my wife and we both watched as she continued to look back. It seemed as though she had a crush but how could this six year old girl have a crush? How would she know what this is?
A week later I received a text message from my wife with a picture of a love note that was given to Logan by Jean. It said, “I love you” and “True Love”. I naturally thought, “That’s my boy” but I also thought about how amazing this interaction was. What exactly does this feel like to her or Logan? Is it butterflies or do they just think each other is cool? Whatever it is, I think it’s interesting and refreshing. We have all been there with our first love note and first love. Hopefully this story takes you down your own memories of, “Do you like me? Circle yes or no.”Post Views: 793