Fayetteville’s John Fitzsimmons, former director of the Lincoln Medical Center’s Emergency Medical Service, received the South Central EMS Directors’ Association 2018 Legacy Award, presented during the association’s annual conference.
It was Aug. 29, 1972, when Fitzsimmons took a job with what was then the Lincoln County Hospital Ambulance Service. By that December, he had attended emergency medical technician class and was certified by the state of Tennessee as an EMT.
In June, 1975, he completed paramedic school administered by the University of Tennessee at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, after attending classes there two days a week while working a 24/24-hour shift. After working in Lincoln County for over five years, he accepted a job as director of a volunteer ambulance service in Plainville, Kan., in March of 1978.
On Nov. 5, 1979 Fitzsimmons moved back to Lincoln County, having accepted the position as director of the Lincoln Medical Center Emergency Medical Service. He would hold that position for over 24 years.
He has been an active member of the National Association of EMTs since 1977 and the Tennessee Ambulance Service Association since 1980. In addition, he represented the statewide association in NAEMT from 1983 through 2015.
Among the ideas he brought forward to TASA and which remain in place today are the National Advocacy Endeavor, implemented in the early 1980s, the Awards Program, begun in 1988, and the Table of Honor, started after 9-11, 2001. In addition, he helped raise professional standards and introduced the idea of making the association’s presidency a two-year term.
With a combined total of over 30 years of service in Lincoln County, Fitzsimmons retired Jan. 18, 2005, and then took a position with Trans Med Ambulance Service in Tullahoma. On Aug. 29, 2017, he retired again, having worked for 45 years in emergency medical services. He is spending some of his retirement time visiting his son and his family in San Antonio, Texas.
“We, on behalf of the South Central EMS Directors’ Association, wish to congratulate John on this award and thank him for his example, his leadership, and his many years of tireless service to our profession and region,” wrote association leaders in a post following the presentation of the Legacy Award to Fitzsimmons.