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Jacob Painter, January's Valley's First Responder

Jacob Painter is a paramedic in Fayetteville, TN.

FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. — It's not easy to work in health care at a time like this. In fact, it can be downright scary. But the pandemic isn't stopping one young paramedic in Fayetteville, TN. His name is Jacob Painter, and he's this January's Valley's First Responder.

Jacob Painter quickly headed out into the real world. He's been in health care for ten years and got his start right out of high school. At first he wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps as an electrical engineer, but he came to realize there was a better fit for him, and he didn't have to look too far for inspiration. 

Painter explains, "My next door neighbor, who is also a critical care paramedic here at the ambulance service, was going to school to be an EMT and I saw what he was doing, and I knew that I wanted to be around people and I wanted to interact with people, because I'm a people person. So I figured being in the health care profession would probably benefit me a little bit more than being in the electrical field."

Now of course, Painter and his crew are there for the people who call, but they're also there for each other. He says, "You know, we lean on each other a lot in this job. I know, myself personally, have dealt with some pretty difficult things in this job, as all first responders will. I have a great bunch of guys behind me, and they can lean on me as much as I can lean on them."

Jacob "paints" a picture of what the job is like during the pandemic. He says, "It's definitely different. Everything is different. Symptoms are different. People can be really, really sick or not sick. So it's very different and you've just got to be careful and know what you are getting into."

It's nice to know that paramedics are always there to provide help, and even nicer to see a familiar face provide it.

Painter tells us, "Being in a small town, a lot of people know me and I know them. So one thing that's good is when you get out of the ambulance and you walk up to someone's house and they open the door and they're like 'Omigosh, Jacob, hey! I'm glad you're here!'. And they're like, 'I hear you sing all the time.' That's my second job. I sing in a band and I play music. So a lot of people know me from that and a lot of people know me from the ambulance service. So the best part is clocking in, being with the guys in the ambulance service and when you go out on calls people feel relief when they know the person that's coming to get them."

Thank you, Jacob Painter, for your service.

Do you know a first responder who deserves special recognition? Nominate them here.

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