Doctors Hospital staff honors local EMS workers with picnic


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Doctors Hospital held a picnic to honor Augusta’s EMS workers. The picnic used to be an annual event until the pandemic slowed things down. Now, they’re re-vamping the tradition.

“Thank you for your service,” said one volunteer, as EMS workers lined up for their lunches.

Thursday’s picnic featured food, games and special recognition for three EMS workers.

“It’s rewarding to know that I can actually help somebody.”

The Emergency Staff Department chose Kirby Eickleberry, Gareth Woodward, and Michael Miller for their excellence from peers.

Darin Helkowski, the hospital’s EMS Coordinator says sometimes EMS workers go underappreciated.

Helkowski says, “It’s kind of hard for people to understand. Until you really need EMS you don’t really know what they do. We show up on your worst day, the worst day of your life and try to make things better, we try to get you to the hospital, and try to get you where you need be.”

Helkowski says during the pandemic being an EMS worker was more difficult. But, for 20 year Gold Cross paramedic, Gareth Woodward, it was just another day on the job.

“It hasn’t been overly difficult. Of course, we had some infectious control things that we had to learn, but overall it’s just doing the same thing we always do, just with a couple of masks,” said Woodward.

National EMS Week is a full week dedicated to EMS workers and the services they provide, and for some that don’t know about their services.

Helkowski breaks it down, “So we save lives, that’s what we’re in the business for is saving lives. We’re going out there and we’re getting people that are having heart attacks to the cath lab people that are suffering strokes. We’re getting them to the stroke center. EMS was born under trauma. Trauma is really our background so the car accidents and things like that, when people get severely injured, that’s where we step in.”

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