KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Bob Wildman worked as one of the first medics in the Grand Rapids Police Department in the 1970's. Decades after serving on the front lines, he is getting some special recognition during National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week.
Now retired, Wildman worked as a patrol officer, who was also trained as an EMT to respond and provide medical assistance on scenes.
"Basically [all officers] had first aid training on the department. And then at some point it was decided that we needed something a little more advanced," explained Wildman.
Working with Butterworth Hospital, the department developed a program to train 16 officers, including Wildman, to serve in the dual role.
"It worked very well. We were able to help people and we did our best every time," said Wildman. "Sometimes conditions were so bad we couldn’t reverse the outcome, but we tried 100% for everybody that needed our service."
In 1974, then President Gerald R. Ford declared the first ever National EMS Week, honoring the country's emergency medical services workers.
Every year the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation selects a person or organization to recognize this week. This year, it's Wildman.
"I was honored by the Ford Foundation that they presented the award to me, and at the time I was very honored. And, what I did is, I accepted for all of the officers that were involved in E-Units. Also all the E-Unit doctors that were involved and also the doctors and the nurses that were in the emergency rooms that helped us when we brought patients in and I accept it for everybody, not just myself," Wildman told FOX 17.
Wildman was presented with a framed copy of the original 1974 proclamation during a virtual ceremony.
The 46th annual National EMS Week runs May 17th-23rd.