Longtime EMS captain offers glimpse into career before retirement

The Story of Captain Brad Browning news herald Through 30 years of service in EMS at Ride Along in late November.

As he drove to the Jonas Ridge EMS depot to unload supplies, Browning pointed to an RV park on Route 181 in North Carolina. There, the EMS was scheduled to conduct search and rescue training over the past year.

“It was always March,” said Browning. “For some years we actually did search and rescue exercises on that side of the park and GNCC races were on the (opposite) side of the park … when setting up exercises we had a couple There were living victims out there…and they were on a mission to go out into the woods for four days and try to find them.

Browning first began his EMS career in McDowell County in December 1992, something the Desertsville native had been thinking about for a while.

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He remembered his father coming home from work at Broughton Hospital and telling him that another man he had worked with was attending school to become an EMT. liked the sound of their schedule of working 24 hours and taking two days off.

“I didn’t really want to work at the time, so it seemed like a good fit for me,” Browning said with a laugh. “At the time, I was a little too young to do it, but it stuck with me.”

Over time, Browning joined the West End Fire Department, where he met another firefighter who worked for EMS. The firefighter intimidated him by talking about a 24-hour shift. More importantly, each shift gave him two days off, giving him the chance to go fishing or do whatever he wanted.

Several members of the fire department then took an EMT class at Marion’s Glenwood Fire Department. Browning continued to take the EMT Intermediate class and then the Paramedic class.

“I thought, ‘Obviously, this might be what I’m supposed to do,'” Browning said. “Then I started working in McDowell County, and 30 years later, here I am.”

From delivering babies when you don’t have time to go to the hospital to holding someone’s hand when you say goodbye to a loved one, Browning has done a little bit of everything working for EMS.

Most recently working as a supervisor, problem solving became his most important responsibility.

“There are always things that need attention,” Browning said. “At any time of the day, you can be a plumber, a builder, a mechanic, a marriage counselor, a parenting adviser, a doctor, etc. You think for all the people who work for you. It can be any of the many things it can do.

He said it felt like being a father of 16 working his shift.

“The people I work with make my job special,” said Browning. “A lot of people have come and gone, but they are all like family.”

In addition, Browning said EMS employees have a unique opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life on the worst of days.

“You can take care of people during the worst of times and have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives,” Browning said. Yes, but when someone picks up the phone and calls 911, it’s the worst day of their life, and it may not be the worst day of their life, and you might be the worst day of their life. You may recognize that it doesn’t, but for them it happens and you have an opportunity to make a difference.

“You have the opportunity to show people that you care about them and that someone cares. We might have to do a lot to them in the back of the truck.”

Browning said the job has its downsides, but the upsides outweigh the downsides.

“Just a simple word of thanks goes a long way,” Browning said. He wasn’t just a guy who said he did it.

Browning said if he could go back and give his younger self any advice, it would be patience.

“Be patient,” said Browning. “Don’t rush. Make every day count. Don’t fool around. Don’t make stupid choices. Get a little closer to your faith. I know this isn’t the end, so this isn’t all. Later on.” There is something.”

He said that every day offers new opportunities to learn and new opportunities to teach.

“It’s worth it,” said Browning. “If you have a desire to help people, this job is for you. But you have to be patient. You have to take some classes and of course pass the national exam that goes with it.

“But it’s worth the effort you put in, and you’ll get back what you put in. If you’ve done half of it, you’ll get half the satisfaction that comes with it. If you give it your all, the satisfaction you get from your work… you won’t feel like you’re working.I really enjoy being here and I don’t think I ever came to work. .

Browning may be away from EMS, but he intends to help local funeral home workers get through the toughest days.

Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at cmurphy@morganton.com or 828-432-8941.follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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