Joe Clark describes his journey from Navy corps man to paramedic.

Editor’s Note: The First Responder Friday series is a weekly feature focusing on the men and women in law enforcement, emergency services and fire services who serve in our community every day.

Name: Joe Clark

Age: 51

Agency: Onslow County EMS

Years Served: 12

Rank or Title: Paramedic

What made you decide on this career path?

I’ve always been interested in emergency medicine. I enjoy the challenge of bringing calm to a chaotic scene. I also enjoy the critical thinking needed to rapidly assess and treat our patients.

What is it you love about working in your community?

The diverse population of Onslow County makes working in EMS a lot of fun. From young Marines, and their families, to our retired folks; they all have interesting stories to tell. I learn something about people every day.

Where else have you worked in the past?

I’m a retired (20 years) U.S. Navy Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman (SFIDC). I had the honor of serving with the Marine Corps during several combat, training and humanitarian deployments.

Describe the road to your current position:

The return to “civilian life” after an exciting military career was difficult. At my wonderful wife’s suggestion, I attended the paramedic degree program at Coastal Carolina Community College. During my final semester, I was hired by Onslow County Emergency Services. I now work with some of the brightest and most dedicated paramedics in the country.

What was the most memorable case you’ve worked?

Working in EMS can be somewhat of an emotional roller coaster. We witness some of life’s most beautiful moments, such as the birth of a child. We also witness very tragic situations. Each time we are dispatched, the patient becomes the center of our world. Each 9-1-1 call is memorable.

What pushes you to stay on this career path and continue working in such a challenging position?

Emergency medicine is constantly evolving. The potential complexity of care provided in an Onslow County EMS ambulance is amazing. We are truly an extension of the emergency room. I am constantly pushed by this evolution.

Want to nominate someone for FRF? Contact Kelsey Stiglitz at kstiglitz@JDNews.com with the person’s name, phone number, what organization they work for and a brief reason why you think they should be featured.