30-year veteran paramedic to receive national honor in Washington D.C.

Minnesota paramedic gets big honor

Minnesota paramedic gets big honor

A Minnesota paramedic is receiving one of the highest national honors in the profession. M Health Fairview paramedic Marcia Anderson will receive an American Ambulance Association Stars of Life award on Tuesday, honoring her years of service.

She’s been a paramedic with M Health Fairview for more than 31 years, which she describes as a calling rather than a job.

“I felt like I’m really supposed to do this, not to sound corny, but it’s the best way I can describe it,” Anderson told us.

She initially planned to be a teacher but then an ad in her hometown paper seeking EMTs for the volunteer ambulance service caught her eye.

“I come from a small, farming community [in Minnesota] and everybody kind of knows everybody and just wanting to give back to my community,” said Anderson, describing why she decided to become an EMT. “I loved it so much, I decided to get my paramedic certification.”

She soon joined the M Health Fairview team and has enjoyed a long career. She’s served as a critical care paramedic and a field training officer through the years.

“I find it an honor to be in this field because, I and my peers, we are in the front row seat of what often is people’s worst day of their life and we’re there to help them try to get through that,” she said. “Being a part of young people moving into this field has also been very rewarding for me.”

Anderson travels to Washington D.C. this weekend in anticipation of the award ceremony next week. There are events Monday through Wednesday, with the award ceremony on Tuesday. It is also an opportunity for Anderson and other recipients to meet with Congressional lawmakers about the challenges facing first responders.

Nearly 130 people from across the country will be receiving an award.

“It’s really the highest award we see for our paramedics,” said Tom Edminson, chief of EMS for M Health Fairview. “It’s an opportunity to highlight the career she’s had and the others have had and what they do for the community each and every day.”

M Health Fairview nominated Anderson for the award. She’s one of more than 40 female honorees from across the country.

“There are so many people she’s mentored and taught over her 31-plus-year career with us,” said Edminson, who considers Anderson a pioneer. “Things have changed so much since she started in the industry. It wasn’t as common to see as many females as we see now.”

According to Edminson, women only represent about 36% of the EMS workforce both in Minnesota and nationally but that continues to grow.

“I feel very blessed to have had this career as long as I have,” she said. “The Scandinavian Lutheran in me just likes to be in the back row, but this [award] is such an honor and I’m humbled by it.”