The longest serving paramedic in Livingston County history is getting set to retire.

Livingston County EMS Operations Manager Tom Green will be calling it a career next month. Green graduated from Morrice High School and received his paramedic’s license in 1982 from Lansing Community College. After working for a year in Pontiac, was hired on as a road medic locally, when EMS’s headquarters were in a residence next to the Historic Howell Courthouse. Soon becoming a road supervisor, Green was promoted to Operations Manager in 2008. He said that Livingston County has come a long way in his time here with its fleet of ambulances growing from 3 to 13.

While he’s helped saved many lives, he says it’s the handful of times where his definitive actions made a difference in saving a life. One special occurrence was when he helped save a family’s only son who had flipped an ATV and was bleeding internally. After getting him zipped in, he helped the doctor cut his chest open and clamp his arteries so he wouldn’t bleed to death. The boy was transported to Ann Arbor and his life was saved, whereas Green projected 99% of the time, he would have died.

Green says that his secret to working in the field for so long and dealing with the difficult things he’s seen is having a personality that doesn’t let the bad things sink in. One of his most taxing days, he says, was the day of the 58-car pile-up last December, in which 3 people perished. He likened the scene to that of aftermath of the opening scene of the TV show Lost, with several people walking around in a daze, little comprehension of where they were or what was happening. He praised the efforts of his team, and other civilians, for assisting, calling their efforts “heroic.”

In fact, he praised the department in general, saying that Livingston County paramedics are “by far some of the best in the region.” He called their work an extension of the emergency room, and an important one, in that so much of the county is rural. He said the local team constantly challenges themselves to be better, and that many residents might not realize how fortunate they are to have this talented staff to help deliver care while on the way to a hospital. Green’s last day will be September 13th. He said he plans to spend his retirement at his place on Sugar Island, in the Upper Peninsula, doing a lot of fishing.

You can hear Green’s full interview this Sunday morning at 8:30 on WHMI’s Viewpoint. (MK/JK)