PAW PAW, Mich. — John Redmond has dedicated his life to serving others.
The retired 81-year-old has been serving as the leader of the Paw Paw Quick Response Team for 33 years, providing free first responder services at hundreds of scenes each year.
"We respond from our homes," explained Redmond. "Most of the time we are there before the ambulance... we do any medical care, basic medical care that needs to be done, plus we give whatever psychological support we can give."
Redmond was drawn to Emergency Medical Services after serving in the Navy.
"I was a safety officer, and a safety instructor in the Navy, so the medical aspect of it always interest me," he told FOX 17 News. "I started in January of 1975 with Thompson Ambulance Service."
After more than four decades in EMS, Redmond retired and realized there was a need to serve in another way.
"Had the idea to start a Quick Response Team in Paw Paw in 1988. There was already Quick Response Teams in Mattawan, Lawrence, Lawton and Decatur. We didn't have one in Paw Paw."
"At that time, there were three ambulances owned by Van Buren EMS and they covered over 365 square miles, so left a lot of time for ambulances to get different scenes," he said. "With the Quick Response it allows the people who live in the area to respond quickly."
The all-volunteer team is comprised of certified EMTs, paramedics and medical first responders.
"The number of calls they run, they save the taxpayers a couple hundred thousand dollars annually," said Jim Jackson, the Paw Paw fire chief. "John is always there. It's a rarity for John not to attend a call. And with them running 1,600 calls a year, he probably makes 90 percent of those calls, if not more."
Redmond has been recognized by local officials and the state of Michigan for his work.
"They estimated that in the 33 years I've been on the team, that I've run 26,500 calls," he said. "It takes a large effort, but I felt that's the thing I can give back to my community. I've always had the feeling that you need to give something back to your community. This is my way of giving back to the community."
As the FOX 17 and Lake Michigan Credit Union Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Redmond is receiving a $550 prize.
Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.
Meet Robin Lavender, our January 2022 Pay it Forward Person of the Month.