Being ‘the best part of someone’s worst day’

Published 12:36 am Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Sarah Smith eagerly serves residents and travelers passing through Crenshaw County each day as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Luverne Rescue Squad.

Smith got her start in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) field over five years ago with GEMS Ambulance, completing a lateral transfer to Luverne Rescue in 2021.

The emergency responder said her decision to pursue a career in EMS derived from the influence of her family members as well as her desire to help others.

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“My ‘why’ for choosing this career would be due to the long history of volunteer fire service within my family,” Smith said. “Plus, I’ve always wanted to help people. I’ve always wanted to be the best part of someone’s worst day.”

Fellow Luverne Rescue EMT Ariel Hilburn said Smith has done just that, and makes the perfect person to show up in the community members’ time of need.

“No matter what situation you’re in, Sarah will always bring a smile to your face,” Hilburn said. “She makes the hardest times in life just a little better in any way that she can. I can literally trust her with my life all day, every day.”

According to Smith, there are moments in her career that have the capacity to provide for either a very pleasurable or very difficult day depending on the call that she responds to.

“My favorite part of the job is being able to help someone in their worst time and watching them thrive with their healing,” Smith said. “But, I think the hardest part of the job is the emotional side of it. Trying not to take the worst calls home is extremely challenging.”

Smith acknowledged that unlike some other first responders, the dangers that emergency medical technicians face often go unnoticed.

“I wish more people realized how dangerous EMS can be,” Smith said. “Even though we don’t run into the line of fire like police do, or fires like firefighters do, we still have our challenges with trying to work in unsafe environments to be able to help our patients.”

Smith said that while EMS professionals often go under-appreciated, she as well as others who choose to pursue the profession continue to show up and get the job done out of a deep-seated feeling of duty to their neighbors.

“We don’t always get the recognition we deserve, but at the end of the day we don’t do this job for the recognition,” Smith said. “We do this job because we love our communities, and we want to be a positive [force] in their lives even when things are difficult and scary.”