Putnam County EMT says being an educator helps her in the field

‘It really went hand in hand,’ EMT says

Wendy Louis

All it took was a flyer asking for volunteers and Wendy Louis of Putnam signed up to take an EMT class through Putnam County.

“It was basically about giving back to the community,” she said.

Louis said the idea of contributing to the community has been ingrained in her since childhood.

“I just grew up that way,” she said. “You know my husband is a volunteer fireman. He’s been with the department since he was 18 and is going on 40 years. So we’ve just always been that way.”

Louis is an EMT for Henry and Putnam County.

She’s helped a lot because it gives the students a good perspective of what type of patients that we deal with. Not just sick, but ones that have a hard time communicating with people.”

—  Andy Jackson, Putnam County EMS director

Louis also is a special education teacher at Putnam County High School. She said her experience as an educator often helps her in the field as an EMT.

“It really went hand in hand,” she said. “Because I can use my EMS training to be more in tune with what happens with my kids. If something happens in the building, they can usually grab me.”

Louis said that when she’s teaching she can do preliminary tasks before the ambulance arrives and give responders details about what occurred.

“That actually helps them in the form of treatment and getting things going faster, as well,” she said. “It’s kind of a win-win for everyone.”

Putnam County EMS Director Andy Jackson said Louis is a wonderful asset to Henry and Putnam County as she teaches some EMT classes.

Jackson said her experience as an educator has been invaluable to the program.

“She’s helped a lot because it gives the students a good perspective of what type of patients that we deal with,” he said. “Not just sick, but ones that have a hard time communicating with people.”

Louis said she usually shows a PowerPoint presentation, but this year she asked Jackson about bringing her students to the EMT class.

“Sometimes if the EMT students know somebody with a disability they can kind of relate,” she said. “But sometimes, I feel like I’m just talking to myself. So, I wanted to do something different.”

Louis invited some of her past and present students to join her EMT class, fully immersing the EMT students in real-world situations.

“It helps my life skills students be able to communicate those needs,” she said. “The EMT students had to figure out ways to phrase different questions they needed because not all of the kids understand – they’re all different levels.”

Jackson said they will continue to receive hands-on training because it was a great experience and taught the students a lot.

“It’s already on the agenda for next year,” he said. “It was a no-brainer.”

Louis said being an EMT isn’t just about giving back to her community – it also allows her to help someone in need.

“You just want to help and do what you can in the time that you have them,” she said. “Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them, especially the elderly.”

Louis said she had an elderly woman who would call often for the goofiest things, but in reality, she was just lonely.

“She just wanted somebody to come see her that day,” she said.

Louis said that no matter the situation, however, she would rather have someone call than not.

“If you ever get that gut feeling, call 911. We can assess the situation,” she said. “We’d rather be called than have something awful happen and not be able to help them. When in doubt, just go with your gut and call us.”

Louis said she is grateful for the friendships, family and partnerships she has made along the way that have helped her during her time in the community.

“I’m involved with the schools, I’m involved with the community and I try to support both avenues the best I can,” she said. “I love this area and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Wendy Lewis
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