By Samantha Hilker
“It was the most humbling and exciting experience of my life…”
Dave Mike was selected as the Professional Ambulance Association’s Star of Stars at the 2017 Wisconsin Star of Life Awards. Dave was selected from 29 of his peers who were also honored at the event held in conjunction with the Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin Conference in Green Bay. Although all 30 stars had amazing stories, something about Dave stood out. 22 somethings, actually…
About 14 years ago Dave and his wife decided to give foster care a try, and in early 2004 they took in their first foster child. Since then, they have fostered 22 children. TWENTY TWO. They also lead and facilitate a foster and adoptive parent support group through their church in Whitefish Bay.
As the Star of Stars, Dave was able to attend the American Ambulance Association’s Stars of Life event this past June in Washington D.C. which included Capitol Hill visits with elected officials, a luncheon at the National Press Club, and sightseeing with his wife and two of his daughters. “Being selected as the Wisconsin Star of Stars was the most humbling and exciting experience of my life. I cannot thank Paratech, PAAW, and the American Ambulance Association enough for the experience” shared Dave.
As a 45-year veteran in EMS, Dave has seen a lot of changes to our profession. His smile is contagious and his attitude inspiring; he offered some advice for those just starting out, or wondering if a long and successful EMS career is really in the cards for them…
“You have to be in it for the people. If you care about the people you are taking care of, you will be happy. I tell foster families the same thing – you have to be in it for the people. You also need to find something away from work (EMS) that makes you happy. You need that time away from all of the stress and terrible things we see to rest and recharge.”
A big part of the Stars event is learning about how government relations and advocacy effects EMS, and how important it is to get out there on a local, state, regional and national level to share our story with elected officials. Dave would love to see all of us in EMS getting more involved as a “newbie” or a veteran of the profession and suggests city council meetings as a great place to start.
PAAW appreciates all EMS providers in the State of Wisconsin and across the nation. The Stars events are a great opportunity to recognize and honor the amazing work you do on a daily basis, and we look forward to another Wisconsin banquet in 2019!