Campbell earns achievement award in emergency services

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  • By Janaé Daniels
An Arnold Engineering Development Center firefighter has received state level recognition. 

Wade Campbell, Emergency Medical Service safety officer for AEDC Fire and Emergency Services, has received the Tennessee Ambulance Service Associations Tommy Erwin Lifetime Achievement Award for 2009. 

The Tommy Erwin Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to an individual, whose contribution to pre-hospital care has been consistent and long lasting, representing a lifetime of outstanding service to the profession and the public. 

"I would have to say this is the highlight of my career," Campbell said. "It is an honor to be nominated for and to receive this award. I really appreciate the efforts of those who put my name up for consideration." 

Campbell began his life-long service to others as a teenage volunteer with the Woodbury Fire Department in 1966. Campbell did not let his age get in the way of his devotion and dedication to the fire department. 

He had to get a note from his parents, which allowed him to leave school and ride the fire truck when the alarm siren signaled a fire or emergency. At first he was too young to drive the trucks, but he faithfully responded to all manner of emergencies and began to develop the spirit of integrity, service and leadership. 

"I have always been interested in medicine and emergency service," Campbell explained. "In 1972, what I considered the perfect job came along when Tennessee passed the Emergency Medical Service Act." 

Steve Fuston, director, Maury Regional EMS, has known Campbell since his teenage years. 

"I have known Wade for more than 40 years," Fuston said. "His involvement in public safety began in 1966 when we became members of the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department, in the years when EMS was only a dream." 

According to Fuston, when it was announced in the early 1970s, that the state of Tennessee was taking ambulance services to a new level, Campbell was one of the first men hired when Cannon County formed its ambulance service. 

"While ambulance services were getting started and EMTs [Emergency Medical Technician] being trained, state EMS allowed an ambulance response with only one person, in a transformed Cadillac hearse purchased from the local funeral home," Fuston explained. "Anyone at a scene, who could and would, was asked to help load the patient on the cot and into the ambulance, then rushed back to the local hospital. As hard as it is to imagine in this day and age, Wade did it." 

Fuston continued, "It was truly a new day of pre-hospital care and treatment in Cannon County. Wade had been there from the beginning. When you think of starting something from scratch, this is what Wade had to do." 

In 1983, while continuing to serve with the Cannon County Ambulance Service, Campbell became a full-time paramedic at AEDC. 

"Wade is truly a pioneer in his profession who helped nurse the Tennessee's EMS corps from its infancy to greatness by his willingness to put himself on the line to help others in need," AEDC Fire and Emergency Services Chief Daryle Lopes said. 

At AEDC today, he is the primary leader to train and equip paramedics, EMTs and fire fighters to respond and provide emergency medical treatment for employees that have encountered injuries or life threatening situations. 

"Wade Campbell is that superior supervisor and expert that I depend on daily to meet our EMS and Fire Department responsibility to protect personnel and the national test asset," Pat Eagan, director of the Support Services Department, said. 

During his tenure, Campbell has established and institutionalized critical training programs at AEDC. 

"He has to train personnel in all kinds of hazardous materials and explosives, which most people in EMS will never have to deal with," John Cathey, director of Coffee County EMS said. 

"He has the medical knowledge, dedication, managerial know-how and desire for excellence. He has a difficult job and has accomplished it with the highest degree of professionalism." 

According to Cathey, Campbell has been instrumental and knowledgeable in several Air Shows in Tullahoma and has provided mutual aid for Coffee County EMS during Bonnaroo. 

For all who know Campbell, everyone feels he is highly deserving of this honor. 

"Wade Campbell is many things to the Emergency Medical Service of Tennessee, Cannon County and Arnold Air Force Base," Chief Lopes said. "He's a selfless servant, a skilled professional and a loyal friend who has always been there in the time of need. He's a true pioneer of Tennessee's rich EMS heritage and a leader who has always stood ready to help his fellow man."