Amy Epperson is a Paramedic from Portland, Oregon. She is a single mother of a thirteen-year-old daughter.
Of being a Paramedic, Amy says, “My job makes me feel like I am doing good in the world, but it is a tough career at the same time. I spend my days helping those who can’t and/or won’t help themselves, but I also help people who don’t want my help and curse me for my work. I have been spit on, called every name in the book, threatened, accused of kidnapping and had things thrown at me. I have become somewhat jaded about the system abusers and about the lack of respect that my profession gets. The patients who thank me are the exception, often, rather than the rule. I have learned to hold my tongue and always be kind.”
“You always have to be kind, even when people are not nice to me. Most people don’t know what a paramedic does. They see us as “ambulance drivers” when, in fact, we can do many things that nurses and doctors can do and more. We have a high paced job and we have to think on our feet and remain calm under pressure. Driving the ambulance is just how we get from point A to point B. In the back, we are a mobile ER, and we can save your life.”
40-Years in the Making
Amy says, “My mom is a nurse, always interested in seeing what’s going on when there’s an accident. She was a nurse in long-term care rehab centers, and I would go to work with her after school. I was terrified of the facility, and I did not want to be there, and now I work with them. It really came full circle, and I love it. I’ve always liked to people. I can talk to a fly on the wall. I’ve always been outgoing. I love that I get to talk to older folks, especially if they’re veterans. At the end of the day, being a paramedic is a customer service job. A lot of the people I see are just scared, and you tell that. It can be heartbreaking.”
“Having a personality like mine helps. I love to laugh, and I find that with many of my patients, especially the older ones, that laughter is the best medicine. I love working with people and have always been interested in medicine. I chose to become a paramedic because I was the person who wanted to know what was going on when an ambulance came to the neighborhood.”
“I have bachelors in Communications, and I initially intended to become an attorney. Instead, I took a job as a flight attendant with Delta and did that for several years. I went back to school after a leave of absence and got my EMT certification. By the time I was done with that, I was a new mom and decided to stay at home with my daughter until she started Kindergarten. It was then that I decided to go back to school to become a Paramedic.”
“I started my career later in life, but I know that it all happened for a reason. I was 40 when I became a paramedic. I had a lot of encouragement and support along the way. I had a great EMT teacher and mentor named Dennese Kelsay, who is also a Paramedic. She was an EMT instructor when we met, and she dedicated her career to teaching EMT’s to be really good at being an EMT. She understood that basic stuff saves the day. I talked to her a lot about becoming a Paramedic, and she encouraged me to wait to go back to work because when you become a Paramedic, you need to have hands-on experience because you’ll be using it every day. We were really close, and she had a lot of great stories. She made me think and challenged me to be the absolute best at what I was doing all the time. People depend on me to keep them alive, and I needed to retain all of the knowledge I learned as an EMT to go on and be an excellent Paramedic. I will always value her mentorship and support.”
Amy loves her career as a Paramedic and plans to continue learning and staying at the top of her game. She says, “I like what I do, I like that I have the opportunity to work with all kinds of people. I love the energy of being a Paramedic. I get to be out and about all the time, so that keeps it interesting for me. As far as my future goes, I just want to keep being a great mom to my amazing daughter, and I want to make sure I keep my sense of humor. If I can keep those two things, I’ll be very happy.”
Of her daughters future, Amy says, “I would be so proud of my daughter if she chose to become a Paramedic, but I would encourage her to take it farther, and become a nurse or a Doctor. I was 40 when I started this career and would have loved to have the time to do more with my education. I wish I could have kept pushing. She wants to be an abdominal surgeon, and I think that’s incredible. She’s always interested in what I’m doing and loves to hear about my patients. She gave me the best compliment the other day she said, Mom I think it’s so cool that you’re a Paramedic, all of my friends do too. It’s not every day that your teenager says she thinks you’re cool, so I’ll take that. She makes me proud, and I can’t wait to see who she becomes.”
Homes For Heroes
Amy says, “The fact that both my real estate agent and my mortgage broker participated in the Homes for Heroes program saved me over $6000. Money that I was able to reinvest in my home. It was a great relief to me to have that cash in my hand to do some upgrades and lots of painting. I love my home, and I’m so grateful for a program like Homes for Heroes.”
Homes For Heroes is honored to support Paramedics like Amy. We appreciate everything that you give to your community and for all of the sacrifices that you make.