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Tragedy Strikes Paramedic Many Times....

Guest Mia

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Hello Fellow Readers,

I came across an article online that is just AWESOME! I am very surprised that this person is still able to carry on a life after all she has been through. Here is the article that I read on this woman I think She needs to be honored for all of her work....and she still writes!!!! Tell me what you all think of this article and the woman..



Mia Carroll






When Tragedy Hits Home






If life is a drama, then Sherry “Cheryl” Lassiter understands a reversal. The EMT from Indiana had a series of accidents that could leave anyone bitter. Instead she sees it as an opportunity to help others.

"EMS is dedicated to saving life, relieve pain and suffering," she said. "Everything that God would want you to do."

That comes from a woman who lost everything when Hurricanes Charlie, Francis, Jeanne, and Ivan hit Florida last year. Sherry was living in New Port Richie near Dade City at the time. But hurricane Francis was part of a four-hurricane combo that wiped out her house, ruined her clothes and even trashed keepsakes from her children’s past.

"I even lost my toothbrush," she added.

Local residents ended up in a shelter. Sherry was part of that but took another approach. Her EMS training involved the Red Cross so she volunteered to oversee a shelter in St. Leo, Florida. They had 500 people and they were confined nearly a week.

"I felt strongly that I had a duty to help those people," she explained.

It was a lesson that came from her past and also involved EMS. Years earlier, she was at a Cleveland Job Corps across the street from a fire department. It was a rough area and the students stayed close by.

Sherry met some of the firemen and they introduced her to Fredrick Baker, a firefighter who taught some of the beliefs behind EMS.

"He was a very warm, kind and compassionate person," she recalled. "I never knew what a fire fighter did until then."

But he also conveyed the values in EMS. "What compassion was about," she added. "Giving of yourself."

She later returned home to Bedford, Indiana 1996 and got a call from the fire department.

"You need to come back," one of the firemen told her.


"Frederick died."

"What happened?"

"He was fit," the man added. "But the doctor said he had been overworked."

The official cause of death was stroke. And the news was a shock. Sherry planned for a career in childcare up to this point, but changed after that phone call.

"I wanted to be more like him," she said. "He was a good mentor for me."

That desire got her through school and into EMT training in 1997. She spent the next 17 years in and out of the profession in a variety of roles that included volunteer work.

"In EMS you learn to accept two things," she explained. "You learn that no one's going to get off this planet alive... You learn that what you do now will leave a difference for those you leave behind."

That belief was tested almost 3 years ago. Sherry was driving down a highway when a woman ran her off the road that was on a cell phone.

“I chose the guardrail and she lived and left the scene,” Sherry recalled. “She has not been found to date.”

The impact left her with a severe head injury.

It also left her with seizures at a time when her employer was an assisted living facility. And they actually fired her because of the head injury.

"It's been real hard," she said about the job loss. She can't drive. She has no house because of the hurricane. And her time now is taken up with legal action against the


"My writing keeps me sane," she said.

That includes volunteer work for the Bastrop County First Responder Association in East Texas. Sherry volunteers to write grants so that the 50 volunteers can get an EMT Intermediate

Course and continue helping the 890.2 square mile area which represents 72,000 residents.

But Sherry also writes poetry about EMS and is currently finishing a book called The EMS Life.

It's not all serious. Much of the material is about humor and stories since so much of EMS is like that.

She mentions jokes they played on their fire chief and the time her volunteers complained about a meeting. So she went up to the chief's office and wrote an e-mail to cancel it.

“I also sent an e mail to the administrator,” she added. “The employees couldn’t attend for scheduling issues that chief had made on their work schedules.

"So all together no one knew and no one asked,” she remembered. “What happened? WE GOT OUT OF WORK AND A MEETING!”

But the central theme in her book is the core belief that helped her through when life got tough.

"Being in EMS--you have seen the worst sides of people," she said. "It kind of reminds you of who you are and who you should be.

"You make life better for the people you leave behind."



Note to the Editor: Cheryl’s book will be out in the summer. Enclosed below is a poem from that.


“Sign Right Here”!!


From across the street we watch in regret! It's amazing to see the way people drive! They pull into any intersection; gas pedals down, like nasscar professionals we're surprised they even survive!

It's a good thing this rig was built to hold up to seven! With their driving records we will have see who comes in still breathing!

The dispatcher tones out an mva! Are they giving out awards? Who won the race? Better yet, who lost? So begins our hectic day!

Get out your trauma bags! Head for the scene! With car parts scattered, "YOU" know what this means!! Are you ok? Is any one alive? Question after question we begin to ask! Our patients don't want our treatment "They" say time and again!

"You have got to be kidding!” I say to my partner as if I'm amused. Amid all the confusion. I keep trying to assess, but I am met with resistance and the scene is a mess! Did some one say there were prizes for this event? Who told them that? Were they aware? That lack of judgment would lead to their dispare?

We tell the patients to” sign right here.” We" open the doors to the rig in fear! There goes one more driver; there goes one more nut! Who can't get enough of making life rough for the rest of us!


Written By “Cheryl” Sherry J. Lassiter

Emt/Paramedic/Fire Fighter/Red Cross Disaster Team Member

Search and Rescue

January 22, 2005



“Dedicated to all in EMS, if we don’t laugh we will cry!!


You may contact Cheryl Lassiter

1712 E. Riverside Dr. Box 267

Austin, Texas 78741

Or Email her at emtdff285@yahoo.com

For a signed copy of her book.



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