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South Carolina EMS Association

Honoring EMS in South Carolina 

In a world where dedication, resilience and leadership define the EMS landscape, there are individuals whose impact transcends their years of service.  Through powerful testimonials, we shine a spotlight on the remarkable individuals who make a difference in their communities every day.

  • 06/13/2024 1:59 PM | Kelly Watson (Administrator)

    Early Beginnings: A Call to Serve

    Alonzo Smith's journey in EMS began over four decades ago, spurred by a desire to care for his two young sons. What started as a practical decision soon blossomed into a deep-seated passion for positively impacting people's lives and communities. Transitioning from a counselor to an EMT, Alonzo found fulfillment in providing emergency medical treatment to those in need.

    Navigating Diverse Roles and Responsibilities

    Throughout his illustrious career, Alonzo has worn many hats within EMS, each role contributing to his wealth of experience and expertise. From administering emergency medical treatment as an EMT to providing advanced life support as a Paramedic Crew Chief, Alonzo's journey has been marked by dedication and proficiency. His tenure as a State EMS Director stands as a testament to his leadership and vision in shaping statewide emergency medical systems and programs.

    Overcoming Challenges Through Collaboration

    Alonzo's journey has not been without its challenges. Yet, he has met each obstacle with resilience and a systematic approach to problem-solving. By fostering open communication and collaboration among EMS stakeholders and the medical community, Alonzo has navigated complex issues with clarity and resolve. His commitment to inclusive decision-making has ensured that all voices are heard and considered in driving positive outcomes.

    Balancing Emotional Demands Through Self-Care

    In a field as demanding as EMS, managing the emotional and psychological toll is paramount. Alonzo emphasizes the importance of self-care, advocating for breaks, physical activity, and rest as essential components of maintaining well-being. By prioritizing his mental and emotional health, Alonzo approaches each day with renewed energy and readiness to tackle challenges head-on.

    Inspiring the Next Generation

    As Alonzo reflects on his extensive career in EMS, his advice to aspiring professionals is simple yet profound: embrace dedication, skill, and passion. He encourages them to stay abreast of evolving procedures and technologies, adapt to change, and actively seek solutions. Above all, he urges them to seize opportunities, become leaders in EMS, and embark on a journey of growth and fulfillment.

    A Legacy of Dedication and Impact

    Today, we honor Alonzo W Smith for his remarkable 44-year journey in EMS. His unwavering commitment, leadership, and compassion have left an indelible mark on the EMS community. As we celebrate his achievements, let us be inspired by his example and strive to uphold the highest standards of excellence in our own endeavors.

  • 05/23/2024 12:40 PM | Kelly Watson (Administrator)

    Early Beginnings: A Call to Serve
    In 1972, Doug Warren began his journey in emergency medical service (EMS) as a volunteer with the Student Association Volunteer Ambulance Corps of Oswego (SAVAC). Little did he know, this would mark the start of a longstanding commitment. Over the years, Doug has held various positions including dispatcher, EMT, paramedic, and director for many agencies, as well as serving as president of SCEMSA before Henry Lewis. Although Doug no longer serves in the field, he continues to serve as chairman for the Lowcountry Regional EMS CouncilWith each passing year, his commitment to excellence and advancement in care only grows stronger, ensuring a brighter future for the field of Emergency Medical Services.
    The Evolution of Motivation
    Why EMS? It’s simple—a calling to serve. Over the years, Doug's motivation evolved into a quest for excellence. Whether as a provider or director, his goal remained constant: to deliver the highest standard of care. This drive led to achievements like CAAS accreditation and transformed agencies for the better. His journey wasn’t just about personal milestones but about empowering others to serve their communities with distinction.
    Facing Challenges Head-On
    EMS isn’t for the faint-hearted. From earning trust in the early days of paramedicine to navigating funding and reimbursement hurdles, challenges were aplenty. Yet, the most significant test came during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sudden surge in calls, coupled with staffing shortages, pushed him to his limits. It was a wake-up call for leadership to evolve, value, and engage team members like never before.
    Managing the Emotional Toll
    Doug emphasizes that EMS isn’t just about physical resilience but emotional fortitude. Critical Incident Stress Debriefing became his lifeline, helping him process the trauma of harrowing calls. But some memories linger, reminding him of the fragility of life. Doug found solace in diverse interests outside of work, from community theater to faith-based communities. They provided a much-needed balance to the intensity of EMS.
    Advice for the Next Generation
    To aspiring EMS personnel, Doug's advice is to dive in wholeheartedly. Be relentless in your pursuit of excellence and never stop learning. But remember, life isn’t just about work. Nurture relationships, prioritize self-care, and find joy beyond the ambulance. As for EMS leaders, create pathways for clinical growth by developing a clinical career path and always acknowledging the vital role of emergency medical service providers.
    Doug attributes much of his success to his family's unwavering support. He emphasizes the importance of having a strong support system at home, believing it to be crucial for personal well-being and professional achievements.


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SC EMS Association
PO Box 360
Winnsboro, SC 29180

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