After Adam Donahue graduated from North Branch Area High School in 1993, he did what many people do: He chose a profession he thought fit his skill set and interests.
Donahue became a design draftsman, a job he held from 1994-1999, but he felt like there was something missing in that line of work.
“I didn’t like sitting behind a desk and being stuck in a cubicle as a draftsman,” he said. “It was challenging, but it wasn’t my forte.”
So in October 1997, he started working part time for Chisago County’s ambulance service, Lakes Region EMS, based out of North Branch.
He went full time with Lakes Region in 1999 as an emergency medical technician, and in 2000 he became a paramedic.
Donahue kept climbing the ranks in the organization.
In 2006, he became a field lead; he then moved into a supervisory role, and his current position is as Lakes Region’s ambulance operations manager.
In addition to the roles he’s served within Lakes Region, he is also the longest-standing medic on the Chisago County Sheriff Office’s SWAT team, and he continues to play an essential role in sustaining the SWAT program at Lakes Region.
He is also going to school for a bachelor’s in organizational leadership; he’ll be done with his degree Aug. 14.
Donahue said he enjoys the “close-knit atmosphere” that comes with working in emergency medicine.
As a result of his dedication to Lakes Region EMS, Donahue’s peers at the emergency medicine organization nominated him for an American Ambulance Association Star of Life Award, along with critical care EMT Brian Meyer, who will be profiled in an upcoming issue of the Post Review.
The two were among 84 people in emergency medicine nationwide to receive the award this year, which “acknowledges those who have exhibited outstanding leadership, significant community contribution and services above the call of duty,” according to a press release from Lakes Region.
Donahue and Meyer received their awards during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., March 25.
When Donahue found out at the Lakes Region EMS Christmas party in January that he had been selected for the award, he was “surprised” and “humbled by the nomination.”
In addition to receiving the award, Donahue and his family took tours of the nation’s Capitol, met Reps. Rick Nolan and Eric Paulsen and spent an extra couple of days taking in the sights and sounds of the Washington, D.C., area.
Aimee, his wife, had been to the area before, as had Donahue, but it was a new experience for teenage girls Lilee, 13, and Adalee, 12.
“They definitely saw what public transportation was,” Donahue said, noting the flight to Washington, D.C., was the first plane ride for his girls. “It was definitely an educational experience.”
Reflecting on the trip and receiving a Star of Life Award, Donahue stayed humble.
“It was certainly a privilege to be nominated by my peers and to have the opportunity to be recognized for that award,” he said. “It’s pretty prestigious in the grand scheme of EMS.”