Lakes Region EMS Emergency Medical Technician Brian Meyer is quick to deflect the praise he’s getting for receiving a Star of Life Award from the American Ambulance Association.
“I work with good people; they make me look good,” he said. “There are so many other people in this organization who could have gotten this award.”
Meyer and Lakes Region Ambulance Operations manager Adam Donahue were nominated by their peers for the award, which recognizes 84 emergency service personnel yearly at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., for their commitment and expertise in the field of emergency medicine.
They were presented their awards March 25, went on a tour of the nation’s Capitol and met with representatives.
Donahue brought his family, and Meyer’s fiancee, Amanda, accompanied him on the trip.
Finding a job he loves
Meyer, a 2004 graduate of Forest Lake Area High School, said he had no idea during his secondary school years that he would become involved with emergency medicine.
Then in 2010, he started as a firefighter with the Linwood Fire Department because he “needed a change.”
Prior to that time, he had been doing construction, but that line of work didn’t exactly suit him.
“I got my EMT through my fire department and then somehow ended up at Lakes and fell in love with it,” Meyer said. “I can actually say I love my job.”
He started with Lakes Region in October of 2011 and has become immersed in the organization.
In addition to being an emergency medical technician, a job that often requires long hours and little sleep, Meyer is also involved with community programs and fundraisers such as Shop with a Cop and the Adopt a Highway program. He is also an active member of the Lakes Region EMS Tactical Team, headed by the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, and he creates and teaches multiple EMS components to other team members. Additionally, Meyer teaches CPR and assists with several aspects of emergency medical responder classes for the community and other local responders.
Meyer plans to become a paramedic after he figures out how to fit schooling into his busy schedule.
Doesn’t take himself too seriously
Meyer said being in the emergency medical field can be a “burnout” type of profession if a person approaches it with the wrong mindset.
He said he often has good days at work, but there are also bad days when he responds to serious calls where people are gravely injured or deceased.
“If you take your job home with you, it’s going to ruin you,” he said.
Meyer said he’s serious when he has to be, but he noted a good deal of the calls Lakes Region responds to aren’t life-or-death situations, so once patients are stabilized, he does his best to get them to crack smiles and laugh.
“I’m just a ridiculous guy,” he said, remembering a call he responded to about a month ago at which a 3-year-old boy had a gash on his head.
Meyer said the injury wasn’t too serious, and after the boy was treated and loaded into the ambulance, he started crying.
“He didn’t want to be there with us,” he said.
So Meyer thought of a way to get the boy’s thoughts off of the injury and ambulance ride.
“I made a sword out of these splints we have and some tape,” he said.
The boy stopped crying.
“We bring him to the ER and he’s holding (the play sword) over his head like he’s Highlander,” Meyer said with a laugh.
Meyer also said he and the other technicians and paramedics at Lakes Region respond to many other calls where the patients need someone to talk to just as much as they need medical care.
“About 75 percent of this job is just about being personable,” he said.
Even though Meyer feels some of his other coworkers could have just as easily been named a Star of Life as him, he said just being recognized for the accolade was a “truly humbling experience.”
“The group of people who got this award are phenomenal,” he said. “To see the grand level of EMS at the national awards was pretty cool.”