Sunny days, meeting people and helping them are the things Steven Croutch loved most about being a paramedic in Keremeos.
But at 70-years-old and having clocked in nearly 31 years in the service, he said it’s time to step back.
Before joining the BC Ambulance Service as an emergency medical responder, Croutch worked as a trucker, an asphalt raker, and a pesticide dispenser.
“I’ve worked all sorts of jobs. I’ve done a lot of different things in my life, but this is probably the best one I’ve done,” he said.
“I don’t like the COVID regulations because they’ve made it harder to connect with people, but that’s what happens.”
Many years ago, Croutch was working as a trucker when he came upon a scene he’ll never forget: a newlywed couple involved in a crash at Paulson Summit.
He said the couple had hit a transport truck. He remembered seeing the woman who was still in her wedding gown, bleeding.
“I couldn’t do anything for him, he was gone and she’d bled all over the place. But to be honest, that was the moment that got me thinking on wanting to work with the ambulance service.”
It was that desire to help people to the best of his ability that drove him to work for three decades as a paramedic in Penticton, Salmon Arm, Vancouver and finally Keremeos, where he’d been working for the majority of his time with the service.
Croutch said in all his time as a paramedic, his motto has always been to help people who are at their lowest point. His goal is to connect with them, help them forget about their pain in the moment and bring them to the hospital in the best possible condition he could get them.
“Helping people, it’s the best thing we can do. We can get them out of their lowest point,” he said.
“When they call us, they’re requesting us to give them a hand. When you give them a hand, you’re helping them in their worst possible situation.
“Whether it’s picking somebody up off the floor or dressing a wound… it’s what they need right now.”
He’s been recognized when out and about in town and while hiking and has received people’s thanks for his work, but Croutch said what meant more to him were all the connections he’s made and the stories he’s heard throughout the years.
It has been a fulfilling career for Croutch with the service but now, it’s time to switch gears and focus on his other interests: prospecting, hunting, fishing, and hiking. He also has plans to travel across the country once the pandemic is over.
For now, Croutch said he’s thankful to have worked and lived in a wonderful community.