TRUMBULL COUNTY For LifeTRANS paramedic, his work is his life
He takes a lot of pride in helping to deliver 23 babies over the years.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
MINERAL RIDGE -- Randall S. Pugh celebrated his 25th year with LifeTRANS Paramedics with little fanfare.
"I just got up today like I do every other day," Pugh, of Mineral Ridge, said Thursday -- his anniversary date with the locally owned and operated company.
Pugh, who also serves as chief of the Weathersfield Township Fire Department, joined the Lane company in 1979, just two years after he started working for the fire department. The careers, he said, were something he always knew he would do.
"My father was a firefighter," he explains. "And I grew up right beside the Lane Funeral Home, where they had the ambulances. I guess I was just raised to care."
But it wasn't always easy making his career choice a reality, he added. When he graduated from Mineral Ridge High School in 1977, there were only five certified colleges or universities in the state that taught paramedic medicine.
"I remember my guidance counselor telling me there was no such thing as paramedicine in the state of Ohio," Pugh said. "So I told him if there wasn't then, there would be someday, and he needed to help me find a way to study it."
Pugh said he feels lucky to do what he wants, but even luckier to do it with the people he works with.
"I've known the Lanes forever," he said. "I worked with Joe Sr., who promoted me at the age of 21 or 22 to supervisor, and now with Joe Jr.
"And I've never felt like I was working for those men, but more like I was working with them," he continued. "It's always felt like a group effort here."
Over the years, Pugh has been certified not only as a paramedic, but also in hazardous material awareness. He is also a First Responder and an EMT instructor.
He currently serves as chief operations officer for Lane LifeTRANS Paramedic, which is now a separate company from Lane Funeral Homes. He oversees daily operations and manages more than 50 employees at the company.
He admits that over the years he has had some down moments, but it's the more positive memories he readily recalls -- like the 23 babies he's helped deliver.
"They're not mine, but somewhere out there are 23 kids I had a hand in bringing into this world," he says.
Or there's the man who suffered a heart attack while digging a ditch more than 12 years ago. Pugh said he was only 30 seconds away, and was able to save the man's life. Every year, Pugh said, the man comes into Pugh's office on Christmas Eve, brings him a bottle of wine and simply says, "Thank You."
Pugh says you can call what he does every day a job, but he doesn't think of it that way.
"It's a life for me," he says.