Culture

Love of job keeps 80-year-old EMT working during a pandemic


By Megan Banta | Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Most people don’t start a full-time career in their 60s.

Lyle See isn’t most people.

At 80 years old, he’s been an EMT for decades alongside a career in human resources and working as a firefighter.

His first run was in 1962, shortly after he graduated from Olivet College, responding to the call of a woman with a heart issue. At that time, he didn’t have equipment on the ambulance to save her life in time.

“We had none of the technology,” See told the Lansing State Journal.

That’s changed over the intervening 58 years.

“I have (the ability) now to have certainly gotten her to the hospital,” he said.

It’s also become more in demand.

Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal

Eaton Area EMS EMT Lyle See, 80, poses for a portrait Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, at the Eaton EMS garage at Sparrow Eaton in Charlotte, Mich. At 80 years old, he’s been an EMT for decades alongside a career in human resources and working as a firefighter.

Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal

Eaton Area EMS EMT Lyle See, 80, poses for a portrait Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, at the Eaton EMS garage at Sparrow Eaton in Charlotte, Mich. At 80 years old, he’s been an EMT for decades alongside a career in human resources and working as a firefighter.

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Before the pandemic, it wasn’t unusual for See to work 60 hours a week as he and his colleagues responded to increasing numbers of calls.

See jokes that while he’s working fewer hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, his wife, Judy, would “just as soon I wasn’t doing any of this.”

“But I can’t sit,” he said, even as he acknowledges he’s coming close to the end of his career.

He couldn’t even sit right after his honeymoon.

The first night the couple got home, there was a medical call, and See hopped in the ambulance in their garage and left to help.

“She said it wasn’t funny that night,” See said, though they laugh about it now.

See has been an EMT since 1962. His dad was a firefighter, and his years learning about safety and fire in scouting “just kinda snowballed.”

In that time, his wife has gotten used to dinners and other events being interrupted, See said.

For most of See’s time as an EMT, he’s been making runs alongside a full-time career in human resources.

That changed after the housing crash, when he was laid off because of the 2008 recession.

“I was going stir crazy at that point,” See said.

He was around retirement age when he started full time with Eaton Area EMS, though he’d been a first responder since his 20s.

In that time, See has changed along with the profession. While he can’t do everything he could when he was younger, he’s still able to do many of the things he did 20 years ago.

See adds a caveat — he works “a lot smarter,” at things like heavy lifting, and technology and his co-workers …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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