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Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: SEMSA and Emily Griffin

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019


By Terra Avilla

It is with a grateful, yet saddened spirit, that I write this week’s article on our medical heroes among us – SEMSA medics.

It is quite common in the field I work in to create strong familial-like bonds with your co-workers. That camaraderie, however, does not just include those who work within our own agency. The connections that unite us spread over to our other brothers and sisters in our allied agencies, like our paramedics.

One thing that I absolutely love about working in Susanville is the amount of camaraderie there is between all of the first responders. We may tease each other at times, but I know without a doubt when things are not going well, they would do everything humanely possibly to help an officer (or anyone) in distress. They would do anything to help.

A couple of years ago I was actually one of their patients after I was struck by a car. I don’t really remember a lot about that night, but I do have one very clear memory of being in the ambulance and feeling a gentle but reassuring hand on arm as they cut my shirt to allow for an IV.

I remember incoherently yelling at them not to cut my favorite shirt. I am sure I wasn’t being very pleasant in that moment as I passed in and out of consciousness. I do remember them calmly holding my hand and telling me that shirts are replaceable, and I was not.

That statement was one of the only things I can recall. Sage, calming advice from someone who was doing everything possible to help me, despite my best efforts to be difficult.

Day in and out the guys and girls of SEMSA respond to a lot of the same calls that police do. The calls that make your heart jump. A toddler choking, someone not breathing, chest pains and on and on.

I can tell you from personal experience, when I arrive to those calls, there is nothing I love more than to hear the sweet sound of SEMSA’s sirens rounding the corner.

I have seen them work diligently on life saving efforts, refusing to stop giving chest compressions, or other lifesaving aid. When we do training with them I am so amazed at their professionalism and how ready they are to save lives no matter what is thrown at them.

And they give to this community – boy do they give. They are one of our very best sponsors for the Holiday with a Hero Program. Children love seeing the fancy ambulances and everybody loves the helicopter. They are such humble heroes.

Now comes the part where my heart is aching.

I could not write about these heroes and not write about the first SEMSA medic that introduced herself to me. Emily Griffin.

We were on a call with an individual who was combative, but needed medical attention. I was becoming frustrated but Emily always kept her cool. Symbolic of all SEMSA medics. Courteous. Smart. Hard Working.

The SEMSA family is deeply missing her and I want them to know their blue and red family feels the loss too. She was a hero, just like all of them.

Emily, you will always be in my heart as well as in the hearts of so many others. You and your team at SEMSA are all some of the reasons I love the place I live.

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