Paul Merriam is Our First Responder of The Month

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – – A Hamilton county E-M-T has a lot of memories and personal experiences after 30 years on the job.

That describes Paul Merriam who retired earlier this year with praise from his co-workers.

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Being an EMT or paramedic is probably not for everyone. It takes someone like Paul Merriam who actually started his career in high school. Over the years, he has done just about all the jobs. Earlier this year he retired after 30 years with Hamilton County Emergency Services. Even in retirement Paul does the same work, only now for CHI Memorial Hospital.

“I enjoy taking these people back home to their, on their way, a step closer to being home, or going home, versus the – seeing all the blood and guts of people I’ve seen in the past,” said Paul Merriam.

The men and women who do this job don’t expect to hear thanks . . . but their work is never forgotten by those they help.



“Like I say – you never know, you may not know, what the outcome was until, days weeks, years later,” said Merriam.

His partner these days is Melani Fortner, a paramedic.

“We don’t really have to say anything on the truck we just kind of know what the other person’s going to do, um, when we get up in the truck and – and everything, so it makes our day very easy,” said Melani Fortner.

Paul says he doesn’t mind the long hours he’s put in over the years.
This is the only kind of life he has ever known as an adult. So Paul Merriam, Advanced Emergency Medical technician . . . is our First Responder of the Month.

“At Wettermark-Keith, we are so proud of this month’s First Responder’s winner, but we are also proud of the hundreds of other first responders, who are out there working every day and every night to protect us and our families,” said James Wettermark.