Newspaper Archive of
Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
May 23, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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May 23, 2001

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Wednesday, May 23, 2001 11 Coulter went on to describe attend a NorCal the positive effect Tolen has on his patients and their fatal- • " " lies. Special thank you gifts in M i!Ci!eOlvS the form of cookies and letters .atunned when he arrive on a regular basis. to receive the dlrectors award. Tolen s first ambulance call the meeting with came long before he consid- Services Co- ered going into the emergency Nancy Coulter, medical field profession. T !eased to see fa- He was just 16• The Quincy As a former Fire Department ran the am- board of direc- bulance service, and Tolen q even serving as itswas invited along to assist la the early 1980s, Chief Andy Anderson. gnized many he It would be a number of With in previous years before the ambulance " hack in his chair, service--then a Cadillac sta- . °rtably listening to tion wagon that in many ways transferred to the hospital. 'll-Twening, Tolen Its- Tolen's next experience Lqk' tly as they began with emergency medical ser- recipient of the vices came in the Navy when of directors spe- he was trained as a corpsman or medic. ou!ter, Tolen ii' ,Sald, I bet I know Coming out of the service in the early 1970s, Tolen learned he knew far more, trained as a • Uickly replied, "I military medic, than what Tolen's own name was expected of civilian emer- gency personnel. Much of II: °˘t 'aced, he waswhat he learned for use in Was anticipating war wasn t medical experi- ence that was permitted. What special trophy he does today as a paramedic ors, Tolen also is far more like the training I SPeCial recognition he received as a young man. # ep. Wally Herger, a and a state as- It was during the 1970s, however, that the emergency Work the fol- medical field started chang- hag. Initially, Tolen said, they Tolen learned were expected to get the in- around him al- jured and s!ck from "point 'A' ' =Wabout his award--- to point B as quickly as pos- i Well-kept secret, sible without providing much medical assistance. That's the way it was when to a NorCalEMS Tolen went to work for the ' , lamsohapp vetnlateMarch Chico ambulance service when he got Out of the Navy. Will be considered A few years later, They bought out the ambulance e ?,cogaition. It is from the fire department up added, "In addition here," Tolen said. He was fa- excellent para- mlliar with the area and inter- L.°utstanding clini-ested in taking charge of the cal skills, Steve operation. [or and a mentor. It was also a good move. He h volved with our was making $400 a month, Continuing educa- lived in a house that was pro- vided by the company, and do- training future ing work he enjoyed. r presenting a modi- It was 1973 when Tolen was for the sher. sent to Quincy. Two years lat- Tolen is also .to represent the er, PDH took over the opera- tion, and Tolen followed. aeflical field at By this time, Tolen started is. his training to become an r says no," Coul- emergency medical techni- clan. It was a new program, Positive, cheerful and he wanted to be part of it. him an By 1980, he received his EMT fOle nodel. He is II status, and then became a LW about his profes-"I was wanting to do more Lthe I MS as a whole, paramedic in 1992. Profound impact with my patients," Tolen said ' nlany of his stu-about his personal ambition WOrkers, leading in continuing to receive more Oose a career in advanced training. Being in a rural area, where tfir ng.No Experience-Paid Training nefits - for app, and exam info: 1-800-429-3660 ext. J-916 7 days a week. (Fee) ! 24/7 aOurs a day 7 days a week 365 days a year Your local rape crisis center is there to support you. If you have an emergency call the CRISIS UNE at 283-4333 I>_ Toll Free 1-877-332-2754 "aPe Crisis Line 1-877-215-7273 I IIIIIIIIIIII I II IIII In addition to being an excelle with outstanding cli ical and technical skills, Steve Is an educator and a mentor." Nancy Coulter PDH Emergency Services Coordinator the distance to the hospital is often farther than in an urban area, made it important for Tolen to keep his skills "on the cutting edge." Today's ambulances are equipped like a rolling emer- gency room, Tolen explained, and a wide variety of highly sophisticated life support be- gins before the patient ever reaches the hospital• But the high, wide ambu- lances of today didn't come overnight. Tolen remembered switching from the hearse- style ambulance of the early 1970s to a new, grant-funded vehicle in 1976. "It was the first real ambu- lance," he said. He was so ex- cited about getting it, he got special permission from the hospital administrator to go to Redding and drive it back. The grant for that ambu- lance was $16,000, Tolen said, an incredible amount of mon- ey at the time• Today, an ambulance costs upwards of $100,000, and is more highly advanced, but nothing has equaled that first drive in 1976. Thinking back to the early years, in his 30-some-odd-year career, Tolen remembered that the California Highway Patrol was initially charged with determining what equip- ment should be carried in an ambulance. "It was very basic," he said. By the mid-1970s, the indus- try began to standardize emer- gency medical care, and more equipment began to appear. Additional support With the assistance of fire departments and volunteer EMTs, Tolen said it has really made better emergency ser- vices available. "They offer so much assis- tance," Tolen said. "They know how we work." Sometimes, they're on the scene first and can start work until the ambulance crew ar- rives. At other times, they ar- rive to add valuable and skilled assistance. "Sometimes I don't know how we did it by ourselves," Tolen said, about traditionally sending out only two EMTs in the ambulance. "It wouldn't be the same without all of that," he added about the additional support. Tolen today "The greatest satisfaction now is seeing the people who are working with this as their career who I was able to teach," Tolen said about his career at this stage. Around the state and in Plumas County, Tolen is aware of the people who have continued in the emergency medical field, who received some of their early training "with him. "I think that gives me a tremendous amount of satis- faction," he said. "And I still like what I do," he said. It's a field that creates rapid burnout with many em- ployees, but Tolen hasn't suf- fered from those affects. In fact, Tolen said he proba- bly enjoys the field more now than he did 10 years ago. "I have a different perspective," he said. Tolen said that many young people are initially attracted to the field because of the rush or excitement they receive from being involved in an emergency situation. "The rush has worn off a long time ago," he said. Today, his enthusiasm is for the people he assists. "I enjoy connecting with patients and making whatever their expe- riences are, better. I can help someone through a tough time." 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