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Retirement is not in this Stet firefighter’s vocabulary

Gary Hall: First responder, paramedic

Gary Hall, a longtime volunteer firefighter and EMT with Stet Rural Fire District, recently retired from Ray County Ambulance where he has worked as a paramedic for the past 16 years. Unable to give up being a paramedic completely, Hall still works two days a month. (Photo by Liz Johnson/Richmond News)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

Gary Hall, 70, of Stet, has had a long list of jobs in his life. But there are two careers that mean the most to him. Age has no bearing for Hall, because he has a passion for serving the public as a volunteer fireman and part-time paramedic.

Hall’s story is one of perseverance and pluck, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He also speaks of his comrades with great affection and respect.

“It’s a community that’s together,” Hall said, referring to Stet Rural Fire Protection District.

First Responder

Hall said he never thought about being a first responder until one day he and his friend and fellow firefighter, Artie Horn, heard a siren that wasn’t the Stet siren.

“We went to see what it was,” Hall said. “It was a LifeFlight helicopter that had landed at Stet school to pick up a man.”

He said an ambulance was waiting to load the man onto the helicopter.

“Richmond fire truck was sitting there,” Hall said. “I asked why and was told, ‘Well, you don’t have any first responders.’”

That was about to change.

Hall, Horn and Riley Rice decided to go to first responder school, becoming the first men to be Stet’s first responders. Training was done through Ray County Ambulance.

“Every two to three years there is a class,” he said. “There is also another yearly class.

“Many first responders go on to become EMTs.”

The three men did just that, taking an EMT class through Ray County Ambulance District. Hall said the three of them still maintain their certification, and all three continue to work for the fire department as volunteers.

You’re never too old to

go back to school

Eventually, Hall decided he wanted to learn more, so he talked to Mac Rogers, chief of Ray County Ambulance, about becoming a medic when Hall was in his early 50s. Rogers encouraged Hall, and so he signed up for medic school.

“I sat down in that class the first day, and everyone was about 18 to 22 years old and I thought, ‘what am I doing here?’” Hall said. “After the first test, I really wondered what I was doing there!”

But, Hall made it through school and says he is glad he did.

The complete story is in the Friday, May 5, 2017 Richmond News.

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