RENO, NV - The big room at the Regional Emerency Medical Services Authority--REMSA-- in east Reno was filled Thursday.
Emergency medical first responders and their families. Some of their colleagues were out responding to calls for service,
If your life is ever on the line, the people in this room are who you want to see coming to your aid. A number of people in our community--it's likely some watching our newscast--are here because they responded.
It's something they do each day, but there are times that call for extraordinary action and that's what was being recognized Thursday.
Twenty-five paramedics, nurses, EMT's and dispatchers from REMSA and Care Flight.
Some had rendered aid to victims of accidents, crimes or medical emergencies in the past year. Some were off-duty at the time and just happened to be on scene.
Most were recognized for their response to two events for which they'd long trained and hoped to never see. The Sparks Middle School shooting and the shooting at the Renown medical campus weeks later.
Paramedic Matt Dixon, who received the highest honor, the meritorious service award, found himself in the middle of both. The school shooting was especially difficult.
"You take a deep breath and you know that's your job and that's what you have to do," he says. "You go in and just start doing it like you do in training. That's why you train so much. Halfway through it for me it started to really become real. In fact, when I came across the young child that was in the north hallway, it became very real to me."
"It's the call that brings everyone together," says REMSA Vice President of Operations Kevin Romero. "Every paramedic, every tactical paramedic, ambulance driver as some people like to call them. They all have to come together for one incident and work as a team to get the best outcome we can get."
The last case Dixon responded to before Thursday's ceremony was a stabbing. The next could be routine or again something extraordinary.
The job remains the same. Saving lives.