ASHLAND, Maine — Pat Long, director of the Ashland Ambulance Service, was honored in May for his many years of caring for others in emergency situations during a ceremony held in Augusta where he was presented with an EMS Merit Award.
The EMS Merit Award is presented to individuals for their contributions to the emergency medical services system at the local or regional level, with involvement and contribution in one or more areas of EMS.
Long said the award came as a surprise.
“I was notified May 10 that I’d been nominated and had received the Maine EMS Merit Award. I was told some co-workers put my name in — folks including [Maine Warden Service lieutenant] Tom Ward, [town clerk] Kathie Beaulieu, [fire chief] Don Bouley and local senior citizens,” said Long. “It came as a big surprise.”
Long and several others made the trip to Augusta for the award presentation.
“My wife, Tracy, Don Bouley and his wife, Ann, and Steve Corbin, regional EMS coordinator, made the trip to Augusta May 19. The presentation was made at the Blaine House — the first time in 11 years to take place in the governor’s house. Gov. Paul LePage and his wife, [Ann,] and their dog, Baxter, were there,” said Long.
The honor was the first of its kind for the community of Ashland.
“This was the first time anyone from Ashland has received this type of award,” said Long, who has devoted much of his life to serving others. “I’ve been with EMS since 1974 — 37 years. I’ve been on the ambulance crew 20-25 years for Ashland.”
Long started with Ashland Ambulance as a driver and worked his way up to paramedic and ambulance director.
“Although Ashland Ambulance covers a large area, to Pat it is just a big community. He knows the people, and they know him,” according to a statement in the Maine Department of Public Safety’s May 20 issue of the “Communicator,” a weekly newsletter highlighting the department’s top news for the week. “Many times, patients and their families express comfort when Pat arrives on the scene. In addition to responding to emergency calls, Pat provides regular blood pressure clinics for senior citizens and teaches CPR to eighth-graders at the middle school. Every year he also takes a group of school children down the Allagash Waterway to experience the beauty and challenges in a way that many would not otherwise experience. In recognition of these and other contributions, Pat was chosen to be Ashland’s Citizen of the Year in 2009.”
Long said receiving the EMS award left him speechless.
“It’s too humbling to express how I feel. I [am in EMS] because I love it. I live here. This is what I’ve done my whole life. I’m shocked and really appreciative,” he said, noting also that several members of the community turned out to welcome him home upon his return from Augusta.
He said although he appreciates the award, he wanted those he works with to know how important they are to him and how much of a help they are in what he does.
“I hope the crew knows how much I appreciate this. We’re a team. I wouldn’t have received this without their help over the years,” said Long.