MARTIN, Miss. (WTOK) - In First Responders we head over to a local volunteer fire department where we find Mr. Rick Gardner. He responds to all sorts of calls and loves doing so. Gardner is our 129th First Responder.
“Playing on the trucks is always fun, but I never thought I’d be running EMS calls,” Gardner says.
Rick Gardner first started volunteering in the community in the late 1980s in Lost Gap. He is now with the Martin Volunteer Fire Department where he has been responding to EMS and fire calls since 2013.
“My kids volunteer. I taught them that even though you live in a community, you still got to give back to that community,” Gardner says.
No matter the risk that comes with pushing himself to help others in the community, Gardner says the reward and satisfaction for making a difference is fulfilling.
“It’s kind of like a drug. Once it gets into your blood, you always want more,”
Gardner says his family supports him, but that they want him to take it easy sometimes.
“They get aggravated at me sometimes because I push myself too far. They always know that I’m doing it for a reason,” Gardner explains. “I just went through heart surgery and I’ve had five back surgeries for a broken back. Doing this has helped more than walking up and down my road every day.”
Gardner says these bumps in the road also help him when he is helping someone in the field.
“I have brought that up at EMS calls, ‘Man, I know what you’re going through, just hang in there.’ I can tell them, ‘I know how you’re feeling right now, I just had it done,” Gardner says. “I’ve tried pulling myself back and letting some of the younger ones step up, it’s hard to do. Once you’ve been doing it and you feel that feeling of given, you hate to just stop. You can’t just stop”
To stay up to date with our First Responders series tune in every Sunday night for Newscenter 11 at 10:00 p.m. and on Good Morning Meridian on Monday mornings.