LOGAN — Most often, paramedics have a life in their hands they’re responsible for during their shift and after talking with Jacob Shepard, one can realize just how passionate these first responders are in this line of work.
Shepard has been a paramedic with Hocking County EMS for a little over a year, but his journey first began when he volunteered with a fire department while in college. From there he was hooked and says the back of a squad felt like home to him.
“I actually used to sit in the back of a squad — and I would memorize all the little field manuals,” shared Shepard.
The path Shepard had for himself changed after that and he ended up transferring to Hocking College for two years to earn his degree. He felt as though God was calling him to this path instead of his original plan and he couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s turned out.
Shepard’s favorite aspect about his job is one that indicates the true passion he has for other people and his job. He says having someone tell him that he saved their life does feel good; however, it’s even better when he doesn’t have to make a run for that person again, because he knows they’re better.
“I had a gentleman who tried to kill himself, and then I see him a month later and he’s healed up and he’s at a healthy weight and he looks happy and real again. Sometimes people just look like phantoms of who they were,” expressed Shepard.
Additionally, Shepard says he gets the opportunity to pray with people a lot in the back of the truck, which makes his day.
Shepard is also serving as one of the community outreach coordinators and likes to fill his spare time with a lot of pro-bono CPR trainings for the community. Most recently, the department has created the Stop the Bleed program and Saving a Life is Shockingly Simple.
Shepard says it’s surreal to see projects like this take off that he has a part in leading. In the last six years, he’s volunteered or worked for at least six different agencies. Even though he’s only 26, he often forgets that he’s experienced enough to lead certain projects and aspects of the department.
Most importantly though, Shepard says he and others within the department recognize the importance of self-care within the field. If someone experienced a bad run and has trouble recovering from it they’re perfectly fine with allowing them time to properly take care of their mental and physical well-being.
“The wonderful thing about any public service — especially in Hocking County. I’ve never been a part of a department that cared so much about their people,” added Shepard.
Many celebrate the week of appreciation for first responders, but locally the 317 Board is hosting three Helping the Helper trainings for all of those impacted by occupational burnout. Additionally, the Ebenezer Baptist Church celebrated first responders on Sunday during worship services.
Other EMS personnel include Hocking County EMS Director/Chief Scott Brooker, Rebecca Davis, Tony Wheeler, Jeremy Young, Nicole Antie, Charles Ricketts, Josh Langley, Robert Sisson, Carrie Alford, Jeff Burns, BJ VanFossen, Bob Platz, Devin Alford, Randy McCrady, Joe Canale, Zak Gompf, Ashley West, Stacey Gabriel, Michael Proctor, Jeremiah Gompf, Tom Zeisler, Josh Nicholson, Matt Bowman, Travis DelMatto, Jeff Markin, Asa Snouffer, Josh Hodson, Kyle Bower, Zach Roller, Molly Touvell, Janee’ Bowman, Jason Rodriguez, Dave Cramer, Cameron Barnhart, Brandon Brumbaugh, Ryan Marshall, Chris Douglas, Kelly Hartman, Stephen Dickson, Jason Loucks, Melanie Keith, Kevin Craig, Keegan Rose, Nick Baird, Andy Warner, Emily Figgins, Josh McClung, Josh Price, Nick Reale, Madison Murray, Karli Meyer, Shannon Warren, Shanda Savely, Nathan Evans, Elizabeth Rolfes, Kylen Harmon, Steven Pallo, Ryan Ault, Josh Bartlett, Hilary Skeens, Donnica Dixon, and Craig Markin.