Stop, and Remember…..

A Time to Remember

Today, I am writing this post as my girlfriend and I are currently 34,000 feet in the air somewhere over the “fly-over states” of the Midwest. We are heading to Vegas for a quick weekend vacation with another couple. It has me thinking of all that I am lucky enough to be able to do in this country. We owe that to a very certain group of people. The service men and women of this country fight day in and day out to maintain our freedoms and protect the life we lead, and all to often, take for granted.

I am writing today to memorialize an EMS ally that many of you may not know. Major John Pryor, was a combat surgeon with a forward surgical unit in the United States Army. December 25th 2008 Major Pryor was killed when his surgical unit went under attack while providing life saving care for our troops in Baghdad.

While attending college in Massachusetts I had the pleasure of leading a campus based EMS organization. That organization, every year, would travel to a national conference held by the Nation Collegiate EMS Foundation. This foundation provided professional networking and training for the colleges around the country that ran their own Emergency Medical Service. Services varied from First Response to full blown ALS transporting services at some of the bigger universities. If there was ever an underground EMS 2.0 Movement, it was here. People here are enthusiastic, creative, and motivated. They are motivated to go out and change the world.

Dr. Pryor was a practicing Trauma Surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania. He would always bring a wealth of knowledge to the NCEMSF Conference. He would show how battlefield trauma care is actively shaping the way that Civilian EMS provides trauma care. He would bring pictures to show the work that was being done overseas, but most importantly he would motivate you to go out there and change the world. Dr. George Koenig (President of NCEMSF Board of Directors at the time of his death) described it perfectly in a letter to the membership:

“He is best remembered by his favorite quote by Albert Schweitzer. “Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For remember, you don’t lie in a world all your own. Your brothers are here, too.”

The EMS community lost an amazing ally and advocate that Christmas. He was a humble man, that truly had the power to motivate many.

I had the pleasure of attending a few different lectures of his while at the conference. Once was a Key Note, and the other was a optional lecture. Both times I walked out of there with a wealth of knowledge pertaining to a world I have never seen. Battlefield medicine is a very interesting topic, and something that I have never personally had the pleasure of experiencing.

To all the men, and women who are serving overseas, and their families forced to spend the holidays without them…My prayers are with you that you can find a peace in knowing that you are doing this country a great service. One that I will never be able to pay you back, except with overwhelming amounts of gratitude and support.

Thank You. If you would like to read a little more about Major John Pryor, MD please click here.

Merry Christmas everyone.


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