An annual pig roast held by the Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Service Area volunteers was planned to be even more special on Aug. 9, with the dedication of the service area’s Medic 41 ambulance to volunteer Connie Prouty. Plans changed, however, when Prouty, who was battling breast cancer, was admitted to South Peninsula Hospital and unable to attend the picnic planned for earlier this month.
“We were planning on a nice presentation during the pig roast, but because of her condition, she wasn’t able to attend,” said Chief Jim Dycus.
With Prouty in the hospital, the volunteers altered their plans.
“We knew she was getting worse, so the guys that ran with her the most went to the hospital,” said Dycus. “We didn’t want to get something in memory of. We wanted to do it in honor of so she could see we were proud of what she did for us.”
Inside the ambulance’s back door, there for everyone to see, is a plaque that reads, “This ambulance is dedicated to Connie Prouty, (call number) 22, for outstanding service to Anchor Point Fire and EMS 2014.”
Prouty, who began her volunteer service as an EMT in 2001, died the morning of Aug. 13, leaving a long history of community involvement that inspired many of Anchor Point’s emergency responders.
“She was running with us until the doctor told her she just couldn’t do it any longer,” said Dycus. “It wasn’t her that made the choice. It was the doctor making it for her. … Everybody knew the struggle she was having, but yet she was here helping people in the community. She was the one that needed help, but she wasn’t looking for that. She was the one giving help. We’re going to miss her.”
Cassandra “Cassie” Parkinson, an EMT III and administrative assistant with the service area, met Prouty when Parkinson joined the volunteer force in 2003.
“(Prouty) was very good with any new people, showing them the ropes, getting them familiar with things, helping out with questions, anything like that,” said Parkinson. “
Parkinson remembered Prouty as a role model for new recruits, as well as seasoned volunteers.
“She was always striving to help people get better patient care, very active with training, keeping up on her skills and doing everything she could in her power to be an asset to the community,” said Parkinson. “She worked a full-time job, had a family at home, but still was one of the top responders.”
By Anchor Point standards, being called a “top responder” is reserved for the service area’s 10 people who have responded to the majority of calls received in a year’s time.
“She went to well over 50 percent of our calls every year,” said Parkinson.
Jim Dress, an Anchor Point firefighter and EMT, is another of the volunteers who was affected by Prouty’s level of commitment.
“She was my favorite, my very, very favorite EMT with which to run because she would take time after the run to talk to us about what went right and wrong, how to improve what we were doing. She was very laid back and very personable,” said Dress.
In a small community, where everybody knows everybody, it is crucial for responders to set aside personal connections to friends and neighbors in crisis and put others’ needs first, according Dress.
That was something Prouty understood.
“She was kind, caring, very much aware of what others needed. Not just medical support, but emotional support,” said Dress.
As an example of Prouty’s focus on others, Dress recalled being with her on a response to an unexpected death.
“Her ability to support, talk with, provide information to the family was spectacular,” said Dress. “It was so apparent that she cared about what was happening in their lives. She was so, so selfless, putting the needs of others before her own.”
Parkinson and Dress were among those visiting Prouty at the hospital to present her with the plaque.
“She was tickled and very, very surprised,” said Dress. “It was so nice to see her smile and, once again, have such kind things to say.”
On the day of the pig roast, with Anchor Point residents stopping by to enjoy the picnic, meet the firefighters and EMTs and tour the station, Medic 41 was backed up to the station with its doors open so the plaque could be seen.
Prouty’s call number, 22, has since been retired.
“No one else will have it,” said Parkinson.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.