HAZARD — The day Gurnie Slone began his work as an EMT for the Perry County Ambulance Authority, Ronald Reagan lived in the White House, the number one selling album in the world was Thriller by Michael Jackson, and Hazard’s hospital was located in Airport Gardens. Thirty two years ago, Slone headed out on his first ambulance run. Last week, friends and coworkers gathered at the Ambulance Authority’s headquarters to honor him, as he prepared for his last.
“He’s been one of the best EMTs we’ve ever had,” said Jason Taylor, the Ambulance Service director, “He never complains. He always does his job, and he does it great.”
A feast was spread across the kitchen table at the headquarters, with a large cake in the center that read, “We will miss you, Gurnie.” Folks filed through the hall to pat Gurnie on the back and wish him well in his retirement. Perry County Judge Executive, Scott Alexander, presented Slone with a plaque in dedication to his years spent saving the lives of people in need.
“He’s responded to every type of call known to man,” Jason Taylor noted, “He has seen a lot of things that other people couldn’t even imagine.”
When asked about his time working for the Perry County Ambulance Authority, Slone said, “It’s been an experience. I’d say I’m going to miss it.”
With all the praise and appreciation for Slone’s work that was displayed by everyone at his retirement dinner, it is safe to say that the job is going to miss him too. The work of an EMT plays a vital roll in healthcare. Every time an ambulance is called to a scene, whether the situation involves trauma or simply transport, an EMT is on board to provide whatever method of care is necessary. EMTs often work long hours and are called out on runs to transport patients to hospitals hundreds of miles away. Experience can be a valuable asset, especially in emergency situations. At the time of his retirement, Gurnie Slone had more than 11,000 days of experience, working as an EMT.
“There is no way of knowing how many runs he has been on in 32 years,” Taylor said, “but a whole lot of lives have been changed because of Gurnie Slone.”
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.