Madison Edmonds was working toward a career as a radiologist when her biology instructor started telling stories about working for Emergency Medical Services.
Tanya Quiroz was also a Paramedic for Sumter County EMS at the time and used lessons she’d learned in the field to help her biology students better understand how the body functions.
Edmonds was intrigued about EMS.
So her instructor said, ‘Come and ride with me one day,’ she said.
“And then I thought – well this is awesome, I want to do this forever,” she said.
It’s not surprising, though, considering Madi had spent several years working as a lifeguard and swimming instructor at YMCAs in the region.
“It actually was our family’s requirement – it had to be our first job,” she said. “My parents wanted us to know CPR and have those skills.”
Her favorite aspect of the job, though, was teaching children how to swim who had never been around water before.
“Many of them had never gone swimming before -- just scared to get into the pool and then you watch them get excited to come to the pool after just a few weeks,” she said. “And I did a lot of work with autistic children.”
She saw how there’s far too many drownings that could easily be prevented.
“There’s a lot of lakes and pools everywhere and you know they’ll be okay because you taught them,” she said.
Chief Bobby Hingst, the Director of EMS, said he’s continually impressed with Edmonds’ commitment to her job.
“Madi is a dedicated Emergency Medical Technician and goes above and beyond any expectations. She is passionate about helping people, she has a big heart, and I think these qualities are what make her ability to provide high quality pre-hospital care so good,” he said. “Madi comes from a family of first responders and her dedication to her career is unparalleled. She wears her uniform with pride, honor, and integrity!”
An Elgin native, Madi said her father Michael Edmonds is a retired firefighter, and she has several cousins who are serving as firefighters in Columbia.
So with prompting from a Paramedic and growing up around first responders, she decided to enroll in an EMT class at Central Carolina Technical College and immediately took to it.
Now six months into the job, with each shift there’s never a dull moment.
“It’s interesting and it’s busy,” she said. “We have some very eclectic calls.”
She’s learned how to talk to patients and calm them down before they arrive at the hospital and get them the care they need.
Dealing with the coronavirus has added an extra layer and is challenging, she said, and wearing a mask all the time provides its own set of obstacles.
“Wearing glasses is honestly the worse part, you can’t get them to sit right and they fog up,” she said.
She understands the need for precautions, though, and has also noticed how she and her co-workers have recently experienced having very dry hands and cracked skin.
“I mean, we’ve always washed our hands regularly but with the sanitizer we use, it really dries out your skin,” she said.
She and her co-workers have noticed a newfound gratitude toward healthcare workers and first responders.
“I didn’t come into this job for recognition, but I do appreciate that – they’re trying. And that is nice,” she said.
Ultimately, she couldn’t imagine herself doing anything else.
“I feel like I’m actually doing something,” she said. “I couldn’t sit around a desk all day.”