Letter: First responders are exceptional

Dear Editor:
We want to give a big thank you to all the volunteer EMS personnel serving eastern Rio Blanco County, Pioneers Hospital medical staff and the St. Mary’s CareFlight team for the exceptional jobs they do.
We know firsthand, because on Jan. 31 one of our own, Darrell Kendall, had a critical medical emergency while working in the rural Piceance Creek area. His co-workers—Bernie Roybal, Steve Brickey and Dan Francis—recognized the severity of his condition right away. They were 37 miles from the nearest hospital. Bernie called our office staff immediately and rushed Darrell toward town. The ambulance was dispatched quickly and the two vehicles were able to meet along State Highway 64 in a matter of minutes where Darrell was transferred. The EMTs—Patti Merriam, Terry Skidmore and Wade Bradfield—were swift and skilled in giving life-saving measures. At one point, the ambulance was stopped and Bernie became the ambulance driver because all the EMTs were needed to care for Darrell on the trip to Pioneers Hospital in Meeker. There again, we witnessed the doctors, nurses and the rest of the staff in the emergency room work like a well-oiled machine to prepare Darrell for the helicopter transport to St. Mary’s in Grand Junction. The situation was still absolutely dire and it’s unbelievable that Darrell is still here, except for the phenomenal speed, skill and determination of the EMS personnel to save this life.
It’s so comforting to know that, even though we live in a small town, we have such an excellent emergency medical system. Ambulance EMTs aren’t even paid and sacrifice their time and sometimes risk injury responding to emergencies. We take our hats off to you.
Thankfully, Darrell is going to be just fine and we’ll be able to see his pretty face at work again in a few weeks. He also sends his gratitude to everyone involved.
Good job, gang!
Rio Blanco County
Road & Bridge Crew