Saluting Konz’s years of service

Thursday, December 27, 2018
Don Konz is hanging up his pager after serving the Remsen EMS for over 30 years. To honor his tenure, a chamber coffee was held from 8:30-10:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Remsen EMT Building.
(Photo Contributed)

REMSEN — With over 30 years serving the Remsen community as an emergency medical technician, Don Konz has watched the ambulatory service grow and change with his community. Now, he’s enjoying retirement.

“I was with the ambulance when it first started up,” Konz shared. “I joined the EMT’s in 1977. The first two years was when it was with the fire department, then with the EMT’s — that’s when the first ambulance was purchased.”

Konz has seen a lot in his decades as an EMT.

“All calls were different and you did what you had to do to help the patient,” Konz said. “My most memorable experience was when our unit was called to help with Flight 232 and I went along to help — I was very impressed how organized it was at helping everyone.”

Regardless of what call Konz responded to, one thing remained the same: his mission to provide medical assistance.

“One of the most important thing about joining the EMS (emergency medical services) was I got to help people in their time of need — sometime not always a pleasant call,” he shared.

Having been a part of shaping the Remsen EMS into what it is today, Konz has made an impact on his community.

“I have worked with Don for 39 years,” said Remsen EMS Paramedic Specialist Kevin Rollins. “Don and I took the EMT class together and he was instrumental in getting the EMT’s in Remsen. It has been a privilege to work with him.”

Rollins, a former Remsen Police Chief, shared Konz served Remsen in more ways than one.

“He has dedicated his career to helping people, not only in EMS but also in the Fire Department,” he explained.

As difficult as it was to step away from Remsen EMS, Konz is ready to rest.

“What I’m enjoying since my retiring is enjoying a full night sleep and not having the pager go off no matter where I go or what I’m doing,” Konz shared. “It does feel a little weird not having my sidekick attached at my hip after all these years.”

With so many years between Konz and Rollins, it was hard for the paramedic specialists to not laugh, appreciating their decades-long camaraderie.

“Don and I always joked, who was going to be the first one to retire,” Rollins said. “Well Don, you beat me, and after giving 39 years to the community, it is well deserved.”

Konz’s retirement paves the way for younger EMT’s to step in.

“When thinking of retiring I thought that now is the time for someone younger to step up and do their part,” Konz explained.

Of course, Remsen EMS is always seeking new talent to help serve the Remsen community.

“We hope to gain more recruits to take the class and help us out,” Rollins stated.

But the veteran EMT had some advice for up and coming generations.

“What I would say to anyone wanting to join the EMS is when you go on a call is to be calm and make sure you think before you do anything,” Konz said.

Even as new faces fill the volunteer force of EMT’s, Rollins stated one thing is for certain, “Don will be missed,” he shared.

The Remsen EMS hosted a chamber coffee from 8:30-10:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Remsen EMT Building, to honor Konz’s service.