WEST ALEXANDRIA — Normally West Alexandria’s EMS department waits to present their awards at an annual meeting, however, one individual is so beloved by the community that EMS Chief Thomas Smith wanted to recognize her publicly.
Lieutenant Pat Kincer of WAEMS was awarded Volunteer of the Year during a West Alexandria Village Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
Kincer, as humble and modest as they get, had no idea she was being awarded Volunteer of the Year, let alone being recognized in front of the public, so the council meeting ended up being a shock for her.
Smith gave his report to the council as usual, before pausing at the end to address Kincer.
“We would like to recognize a member who is dedicated to West Alexandria EMS and has redefined the word ‘volunteer.’ A person who goes over and beyond what a volunteer does and would rather sit in the back of the room and not be recognized at all,” he said. “This volunteer has been with West Alexandria EMS to see many changes and has stuck through them all.
“In January, I had the honor to be promoted as chief and during that change this volunteer stepped up and took over training at the department, making sure I always knew they were available to help out on the schedule. I have to be honest, there are days where she wares me out — she’s on top of it more than I am. When it comes down to it, I know this person has our backs, she’ll make sure we have the very best, and she will make sure the medic rolls out the door fully staffed.
“In 2017, this volunteer responded to 276 of the 521 medical calls that our department handled. The average person who works 40 hours a week will work 2,080 hours a year. In 2017, this volunteer was scheduled and worked 4,643.3 hours. That equates to 89.3 hours a week. Those were the scheduled hours. Those don’t include the added trainings that she attends, continuing education she attends, and any backup calls she shows up to.”
Kincer started as an EMT with West Alexandria in 2003, coming from a medical background. She is retired now, but has worked as an x-ray and CT tech. She also worked as a volunteer at Twin Valley Community Schools, where she eventually became a paraprofessional.
She wanted to start as an EMT sooner, but waited until her daughter got her drivers license, that way both mother and daughter could pursue their passions.
“I’ve worked under many chiefs and they have all been great,” Kincer said. “All the people I’m working with are great and dedicated. I am retired and have the opportunity to do more. Unfortunately with EMS, it is a fact of life, the EMTs have to work two or three jobs to make a living for their families. I’m retired and don’t have to work, so I am able to fill in spaces for that.
“We’re a team and we have each other’s backs. We’re a family too, but our families need the recognition. We get the glory, but for my husband dinner is late or not done and I’m not around as much. If I didn’t have my husband, I couldn’t do this. I want to recognize him. We need the support of our families.”
Smith added, “She’s always the type that doesn’t want to be recognized, but, to me, she is very special to West Alexandria. Not only the hours of covering the medic, but she is our training officer and she goes to tons of continuing education to better herself and to bring it back as an instructor to better us. Yes, she’s retired and has more time to do things, but that doesn’t matter, she goes over and beyond.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH