By, James Ramey
My name is James Ramey. I am 30 years old and an EMT for a large metropolitan area in Kentucky. I grew up in Hardin County, Kentucky and graduated high school in May 2005. In June 2005, I was on my way to Fort Benning, Georgia for Infantry One Station Unit Training (OSUT).
Military and public service runs deep in my family. My grandfather served in World War II and my father retired from the U.S. Army where he served in Operation Desert Storm and later retired again as a police officer. My own military service, like a lot of my generation, really started on September 11, 2001, although I was a freshman in high school at the time. When my health teacher turned on the television in class just in time for us to see the second plane strike the towers; I knew then that war was coming. I remember being upset because I thought that by the time I could graduate and enlist that it would be over. Of course, we know now that would not be the case.
I graduated OSUT and then Airborne school in November 2005 and arrived in Fort Wainwright, Alaska in December. The unit had already been deployed for several months before I arrived and after a short amount of pre-deployment requirements I caught up with them in Mosul, Iraq in January 2006. I went on my first patrol and I was immediately hooked on the job. The combination of the adrenaline, the comradery, and the sense of purpose was exactly what I was looking for and I loved it for the next 6 years until I got of the Army in 2011.
The things I loved about being an Infantryman, and especially a deployed Infantryman, are what prompted me to continue into public service after my military career. I went to the Firefighting Academy in Sarasota, FL and obtained an AAS in Fire Science from Keiser University. A big part of being a fireman in most places in this country is also being an EMT so after the academy I went to EMT school. It was during EMT school that I made the decision to transition into EMS full time. The time I spent during class in the hospitals and on the ambulance reminded me of all the reasons I loved being in the military. It is the brief periods of adrenaline rush combined with the comradery of being on the front lines with your co-workers. It is the sense of purpose and pride you get from being able to help your fellow citizens, who are often experiencing the worst day of their lives. It is unmatched in any other profession. For these reasons, I plan on staying in the medical profession for as long as I am physically able to do so.
My future plans include finishing Paramedic school which I am currently attending and returning overseas as a private security contractor. This Veterans Day I hope that we all take the time to remember those that raised their hand and volunteered to serve at a time when most knew that they would quickly be finding themselves in a very hostile environment. Those that have served in the military and those that continue to serve as first responders at home make sacrifices that most people will never understand and for that we should all be eternally grateful. All gave some, but some gave all.