This is Paramedic Services Week across the country, and Frontenac County paramedics are celebrating the occasion.
On Wednesday, Kingston’s Market Square was the scene as paramedics and the tools of their trade were on hand — everything from the vehicles they drive to the other equipment they use.
Wednesday was also the day that many paid tribute to first responder Dale Hodgins.
Hodgins is Frontenac County’s longest serving paramedic at over 40 years and was recognized for it when he was presented the Governor General Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Services Medal 2nd Bar — the highest honour for paramedics in Canada.
By his own account, Hodgins was overwhelmed.
“Paramedic week, a 40-year pin in that week,” Hodgins said. “It’s been great having all my friends here, co-workers, it’s been great. It’s just been a day that I’ll never forget.”
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Hodgins received his medal from Honorary Lt. Gen. Richard Rohmer, who is Canada’s most decorated civilian and the honourary chief of the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs. Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson, who earlier in the day was on hand in Market Square, shared his thoughts on Hodgins.
“It’s a pretty impressive milestone and I think it just shows his commitment to this community and the enormous amount of work that he’s put in,” Paterson said.
“I can only image how many lives have been saved because of Dale’s work over the last 40 years.”
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Hodgins is fighting A.L.S. or Lou Gehrig’s disease, with which he was diagnosed last December. He says he’s not giving up the fight, though; in fact, he says he’s even more inspired by the people that were hand for the afternoon ceremony. “They expect me to fight and I’m going to fight A.L.S. every step of the way,” he said.
For 62-year-old Dale Hodgins, that fight continues.