Saturday, June 21, 2014
Paramedic Angie Johnson, 33, of Summerville, hails from Wisconsin.
Graduating from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Special Education and Psychology, she earned her paramedic degree from North Central Technical College in Wisconsin and worked with the Howard Young Medical Center in Monoqua, Wis., and as a county EMS.
She found special ed and psychology “not fulfilling enough,” however.
“Counseling kids … it was too hard to remain objective,” she said. “Special ed takes a special type of person. It is very taxing.”
So she started with EMT basic training and “fell in love with it.”
She began by volunteering with the Rothschild Fire Department. She met her husband there and “he encouraged me to go further as did the fire chief.”
But the Wisconsin winters “were getting longer and colder,” she said. “We wanted a change of scene and a warmer climate.”
Her husband moved in June of 2011 and Johnson followed with her daughter in August.
“He had a close friend he had worked with for years [here] so it worked out for him and I came along for the ride!” she said.
She says she loves being in the streets helping people. “You have to think on your feet…it is just you and your partner.”
She is also trained in critical care and has taken the flight paramedic exam. She also has a BSN in nursing.
Her worst experiences are when young children die. It’s harder, she says, when you’re a parent to lose a child on the job.
“It makes you take the time to call your family if only for a moment. You see life taken away at a moment’s notice. You know, you appreciate what you have more.”
Her best experience was delivering twins on a highway in Wisconsin.
“I was on my way home, in my own car, and I saw a guy on the side of the road flaying his arms, jumping up and down. I don’t normally stop [for men on the side of the road] but something made me stop.
“‘My wife is pregnant and in labor!’ he said, and there she was in the backseat in all her glory, screaming. I delivered a baby and then she says, ’I didn’t tell you I’m having twins’ so I delivered the second one.”
They were both girls and one has her first name – Angie – as a middle name and the other has her middle name – Toni – as a middle name.
Johnson’s professional goal is to go back to school and become a nurse practitioner.
She and her husband Tracy are parents to Gianna, 10, and a black lab named Merlin.
They enjoy exploring different areas. “We all love history and love learning about the Civil War, slavery” and all that has happened in the South, she said.
She loves photography and has a close friend who has taught her a lot.
She works out in her spare time as well: “Since I moved here I have lost 80 pounds!”
She attributes that, in part, to the fact that Wisconsin winters are “so vicious” (-19 degrees) and so long and the winters here allow for more activity.
She enjoys “water stuff” like paddle boarding.
Her life goal is “to make a difference, even in just one life.”
“Our job is so perfect. We come into homes in situations beyond their [the patient’s] control. They don’t remember our names, just that we helped them.
“We give people hope, sometimes just by smiling at someone.”