ASHLAND - It's a job that would leave most people stressed and flustered.
Whether it's for a car crash, a heart attack or a fall, Drew Marchand is called in at some of the worst moments of people's lives.
But Marchand always has a smile on his face. His courtesy toward patients, their families and bystanders never waivers, even as he strives to follow protocol and put his skills and knowledge to work under pressure. He is a tireless advocate for his patients, and he constantly pushes for more training to improve himself and his fellow staff. He has exhibited leadership skills and has taken a lead role with Active 911, a digital messaging system that provides information for first responders.
Those are just some of the reasons Drew Marchand's colleagues at Ashland Fire Department chose him as EMT of the Year for 2017. The honor was announced at the department's annual awards banquet on Saturday.
Each year, members of the department nominate fellow staff members for the honors of EMT of the Year, officer of the year and firefighter of the year. The top two to three nominees with the most nominations in each area are then voted on, and the top voter-getters receive the awards.
Other top nominees for EMT of the year were Ben Burrer and Dan Robinson.
Marchand, 27, of Akron, has been with Ashland Fire Department nearly five years. He also works part-time at the Tallmadge Fire Department and has previously served on departments in Lakemore and Suffield.
One of the biggest changes coming to Ashland from those other departments, Marchand said, was interacting with the Amish population.
"You're going into houses with no electricity and dealing with chimney fires in the summer, or you're dealing with midwifes and things," he said.
Other changes included handling hazmat situations and high-speed crashes on Interstate 71 and farm-related incidents.
"Another thing that's different down here is we have all volunteer fire departments surrounding us, so up north we can call for the cavalry and the cavalry is coming," Marchand said. "Here, it takes a little bit more time and we're it most of the time, or they call for us. I like that."
For Marchand, it was the promise of variety that drew him to fire and EMT school at Stark State College and then Summa Health System for his paramedic license.
"I worked at a grocery store and I knew what I was doing on Mondays and what I was doing on Tuesdays. Here, we could have days where we run 24 calls and days where we do training all day, so it's kind of unique," he said.
On a typical day in Ashland, Marchand may go out on 11 to 12 calls.
Marchand said he was honored to be chosen as EMT of the year.
"Especially being one of the newer guys here, I've only got five years on, so it feels good knowing the guys above me appreciate that and the guys below me look up to me," he said. "I just feel like I try to do well at my job. I try to know protocol and be calm and collected on calls. I try to know what to do, and if I don't, I know who to go to. But we're a team here.
"I work with a lot of good guys here."