Ringdahl paramedic looks forward to Haiti mission during National EMS weekPublished 11:02am Thursday, May 23, 2013
He’s saved people at home and now will travel to Haiti to help teach responders in the poor country to do the same.
Steve McElmurry, a paramedic with Ringdahl Ambulance, will join a medical team and a youth group from St. John’s Catholic Church in Ortonville partnered with Mission of Hope to travel to Port-au-Prince on June 26. There, they will meet with a Haitian medical staff to teach basic life support, first aid and some advanced life support as well.
Most importantly, they will teach the staff how to train others in the community, so the team’s impact will continue after they’ve left for home.
“These are real people,” McElmurry said. “They aren’t just going to be a patient.”
The emergency medical response system many rely on in the United States is nearly non-existent in Haiti. The underdeveloped system and incredible poverty has caused severe problems for the country, especially after the wake of natural disasters like the devastating earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Sandy.
The medical group, consisting of a doctor, nurses, another paramedic and a few EMTs, will foster a relationship with the people in Haiti so that they can better serve when such tragedy strikes again. McElmurry said he hopes the training will help alleviate suffering and preventable deaths the country faces with such an impoverished emergency system.
“One of the things they taught us in school was that, as paramedics, we have to help one another,” McElmurry said. “I’m excited to do that, but I never expected I’d get to do that in another country.”
McElmurry will need help if he wants to go on the trip, however, and hopes he can garner community support for the project. He will need to raise $1,300 from residents who want to help the country as well.
Donations for McElmurry’s medical mission can be made at www.gofundme.com/2sydpg. Checks can also be made out to St. John’s Youth Group and sent to Krista Hartman, 691 Lakeshore Drive, Ortonville, MN, 56278. As of Wednesday, he had raised $1,000, but still needs a push to raise the additional funds. Any amount over his goal will be given to the group for any additional costs they might have.
“There’s going to be language barriers, cultural barriers and barriers with religious beliefs,” McElmurry said. “I’m going to get to overcome all that to accomplish my mission.”