July 16th, 2024

Heart of a Hero Tour recognizes first responders, highlights career opportunities

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on September 21, 2023.

Herald photo by Delon Shurtz Winston Churchill student Colby Smith, along with fellow student Brooke Zimmer, learn how to perform CPR on a practice dummy under the direction of LFES medical training officer Adam Perrett, during the "Heart of a Future Hero Tour" on Wednesday at Fire Station No. 4.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Not many people outside of the medical field will know who Paul Maurice Zoll is. There are few people, however, who aren’t familiar with the artificial cardiac pacemaker and cardiac defibrillator, the development of which Dr. Zoll is credited.

Zoll, a Jewish American cardiologist and one of the pioneers in the development of the pacemaker and defibrillator, died in 1999, but his legacy lives on in modern-day medical devices used worldwide to diagnose and treat patients suffering from serious cardiopulmonary and respiratory conditions.

Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services is one of the benefactors of Zoll’s legacy, and over the years city firefighters and paramedics have saved countless lives using the latest in modern technology.

During a public presentation Wednesday at the #4 fire station on the northside, students interested in careers in the medical field had a close look at the technology, much of which is provided by ZOLL Medical, a leader in acute critical care and related software and diagnostic tools.

Wednesday’s event was part of ZOLL’s Heart of a Hero Tour, which was created during the COVID pandemic to thank paramedics and other first responders for their life-saving work.

“They were overworked, long hours, a lot of stress obviously, so we started this tour right after COVID,” explained ZOLL’s Marty Alvaro.

The tour began in Eastern Canada and made its way west to Lethbridge, where the tour evolved into the Heart of a Future Hero Tour to do more than just recognize emergency medical personnel in Lethbridge.

“To give thanks for all the hard work that Lethbridge has been doing for its community, but also as a way for them to get the word out of what they do every day for work; the satisfaction they get for treating those people in the community; as a way to get younger people involved in this profession,” Alvaro said.

High school students Ciana Catonio and Meridian Patenaude were among many of the city’s high school and college students who attended the event and expressed interest in careers in the medical field.

“I’m interested in becoming a paramedic when I get older,” Patenaude said.

Catonio echoed her friend’s comments and added she doesn’t want a nine to five office job, but wants an exciting career in which she can help others.

Mike Humphery, EMS operations officer with LFES, is excited about the career opportunities available to young people, and said modern technology enables medical personnel to make more of a difference in people’s lives than ever before.

“Where technology and where medical science were even 20 years ago, has advanced leaps and bounds, and the technology that is out there today to really help practitioners make a positive impact in people’s lives is very exciting, and I think that someone that would get into this field now, it would be very rewarding.”

Humphrey pointed out LFES will be looking for new firefighters and paramedics as early as next spring.

“Getting quality applicants is a challenge everywhere, and so we really want to showcase to our young people of our community the exciting opportunities that they can find right here in Lethbridge.”

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