Ervin remembered for his humor, spirit
- Susan Matheny
- Madras Pioneer - News
>Memorial services for EMT worker scheduled Saturday
The loss of paramedic Bob Ervin, who was killed by a semi New Year's Day while responding to a call on an icy and fog-covered High way 97, was a heavy blow to regional medical services as well as his friends and co-workers at the Jefferson County ambulance and fire halls.
A dedicated professional for 21 years, the 43-year-old Ervin was in charge of training Jefferson County emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and held weekly sessions to review and update their skills. The sessions were also often attended by Jefferson County firefighters working on EMT certifications.
In the Central Oregon region he worked with physicians and served on several networking boards to help develop a uniform protocol for emergency medical situations. His sudden death left Jefferson County EMS without a trainer, and a gap on many regional boards.
For the past seven years, Ervin worked at the Madras ambulance hall with Manager George Heckathorn and Assistant Manager Don Heckathorn, who both knew him in the 1980s when they all worked for Metro West Ambulance Company in Portland.
George Heckathorn said from 1992-94 Bob had worked as a paramedic in Saudi Arabia and over there had met his wife Marian, who was a nurse from Ireland. The Ervins moved back to Portland where Bob saw an ad for a paramedic's position in Madras, and applied without knowing the Heckathorns were already working there.
"He was a paramedic, our trainer and our representative with the East Cascade Emergency Systems, and Area 7 Trauma Advisory Board, and those are the things that will be hard to replace," Heckathorn said, adding, "He was the best paramedic I've ever been around and I know he was one of the most dedicated."
Ervin enjoyed people and putting on the training sessions, Heckathorn said, noting Ervin's laughter could fill up a room. "Everyone knew when Bob came in because they recognized his laugh and he was fun to be around."
Bob Sjolund of the Jefferson County Fire Department said the firefighters also enjoyed taking EMT training from Ervin.
"Bob and I would get together and coordinate a drill and all train together. The fire guys looked up to him because he knew his stuff. He enjoyed his job and people enjoyed being around him. He'd smile and laugh and make your day," Sjolund said.
But he also took his profession very seriously and would stand for what he believed in. "He was very well-respected throughout the paramedic field," Sjolund added.
Fire Marshal Mark Carmen is another person who had known Ervin for 20 years. They had both worked in Clackamas County and moved to Madras around the same time.
Carmen said here they worked extensively together. Ervin helped him organize a system for keeping records on things like shots and blood-borne pathogens, while Carmen helped Ervin get an EMS student intern program going at the ambulance hall.
Off-duty, Ervin enjoyed fly fishing, golf, boating and going on yearly scuba diving excursions with Marian. Carmen had taken up scuba diving 10 years ago and had been looking forward to diving with Ervin.
"I was going to go scuba diving with him this year. In September he went for 10 days to Cozumel, Mexico, and came back and gave me a dive T-shirt," Carmen mentioned.
The loss of Ervin's expertise and enthusiasm will be felt by hospitals and medical workers across the region.
"He's done so much in Central Oregon on committees and with all the training. He was working towards Central Oregon having some of the best health providers in the state," Carmen said.
Ervin is survived by his wife, Marian, three children and four stepchildren (See obituary on Page 3B). Memorial services have been set for 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, at Jefferson County Middle School, 1180 SE City View St., Madras.
Due to limited parking at the middle school, a shuttle service will be available from the parking lots of Mountain View Hospital and the United Methodist Church (12th and A streets). People attending the memorial service are encouraged to use this service.
A memorial fund in his name has been established at Columbia River Bank in Madras, and donations may be made by calling the bank at 1-541-475-7221, or mailing checks to Jefferson County EMS, P.O. Box 265, Madras, OR 97741.
A Regional EMS Scholarship Fund has also been established through COCC Foundation to be administered through East Cascades Emergency medical Services Council. To donate, contact chairperson Liz Morgan at Jefferson County EMS at the above address.