A Native Air Ambulance sits on display during a Lawrence Brothers IGA celebration to honor first responders, Saturday. Mark Wilson Photo
Roswell’s first responders were honored at Lawrence Brothers IGA, Saturday, allowing a chance for the public to meet those in emergency medical services and thank them for their service to the community.
A Native Air helicopter from the Roswell International Air Center flew into the parking lot at the start of the event, a special moment for Blake Meek, IGA store director. Meek’s son Jacob had a stroke in November 2010, and was flown to Lubbock in the same helicopter that landed Saturday.
“I can’t say enough. They saved my son’s life,” Meek said. “And we’ve had a couple other problems since the stroke, and have had to call on emergency vehicles. So on a personal level, they mean very much to me.
“… And, of course, it’s not just Lawrence Brothers — overall in the Roswell community, they do so much for us. I think a lot of times it goes a bit unappreciated.”
Cindy Maxwell, critical care paramedic with Native Air, said Saturday provided an opporunity for the community to learn more about the emergency medical services in Roswell.
“It’s not every day that you get to land in the middle of town!” she said. “So it’s nice that the public can just come out and see us. Sometimes they don’t know what we do, they don’t know that we’re located here in town. They think sometimes we have to fly in from some other place to get them, but if we are not on a call, if something happens, we can go and land right on the scene, pick them up, take them to Lubbock or Albuquerque, to a level one trauma center right then and there.”
She said landing in the IGA parking lot was a fun experience, one that required a lot of care. “We had the Fire Department set up our landing zone for us, so it takes a big combination of people to be able to land it. You can’t just land anywhere — you have to watch traffic, power lines, poles, the public walking around — it takes a concerted effort to land safely.”
Mayor Del Jurney, who attended the party to thank first responders, commented, “Sometimes we take advantage of what we have. So it’s nice to set aside some time to personally say, ‘Thank you for what you do. Thank you for protecting this community. And thank you for putting your own lives at risk.’”
Roswell Fire Department Lt. Brian Roach said he has always been thankful for the time taken to recognize the efforts of first responders. “From the Fire Department’s point of view, the city of Roswell treats us like royalty. They are so good to us. And the city populous has always been kind to us, has always been doing stuff for us.
“… So this gives us a chance to come out and interact with the public, where the kids aren’t nervous around us, and just gets us out to meet everybody. We love it whenever someone puts out the effort to do something for us.”