GROTON — After nearly 22 years on the job as a volunteer EMT, Kathy Morin has become such an indispensable part of the town’s Fire Department and emergency rescue teams that she can’t seem to entirely break away.
“I keep trying to retire but they won’t let me,” Morin laughed. “The bottom line is that I’m not quite ready to go yet. I’ll have to move out of Groton to get my point across.”
“Kathy has been with the department for years,” said fire Chief Joseph Bosselait. “She started on EMS and has been an EMT and a mentor. She’s worked on the rescue squad, headed rehab at fire scenes and has been a committed and valued call employee of the Fire Department for years. Without people like her, the department’s call model would not work.
Call firefighters need dedication and commitment to respond to emergency calls, day or night, weekends or holidays, Bosselait said, “no matter if you’re sitting down for supper or just going to bed.”
For that reason, Bosselait has nominated Morin for this year’s Extraordinary Service Award. The award is given annually by Nashoba Publishing, to recognize local emergency response personnel whose service to their communities is “above and beyond the call of duty.”
“I think it’s wonderful to have been nominated for the award,” Morin said. “I’m pleased that my peers think I’m worthy of this recognition. In your own line of work, nobody ever thinks that they’re worthy of any kind of award. So I’m grateful to be recognized. It means a lot to me that they want me to have it.”
“Kathy was very much a team player,” said John Walsh, former director of the town’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS). “She was always there to help when something was going on.”
“Kathy really works well with others,” added Bosselait. “She was very well respected by all members of the department and has been a great asset to us. She’s also a very calming influence at emergency scenes; she knows her job and performs it well. At accident scenes, she can change air bottles on the backs of firefighters while also helping victims to keep calm or with emergency medical treatment. She’s been with the department a long time so she has lots of experience. She’s seen a lot and done a lot and there’s probably not much that she hasn’t seen or done in town on the emergency medical side.
“Kathy is a good all-around person who is very caring and knowledgeable,” Bosselait concluded.
Once employed by the town’s Water Department, Morin recently moved to the treasurer’s office, where she currently works as assistant treasurer. A resident of Gratuity Road, she graduated from North Middlesex Regional High School, trained as a hairdresser and moved with her family to Groton in 1973. Taking an interest in public service, she looked into training as an emergency medical technician and joined the town’s ambulance service in 1986.
“Learning how to be an EMT was time-consuming but well worth it,” Morin said. “I did it because I wanted to help people. That’s the biggest thing. I wanted to give back to my town.”
Since joining the town’s ambulance service, Morin has cross-trained into a number of different jobs including dispatcher and critical-incident debriefer.
“Kathy got involved in a lot of things in her career but she’s kind of at the end of it now,” Walsh observed. “She’s been with the department for over 20 years and has been trained as a CPR instructor and acted as a mentor to other EMTs as they came along. She’s one of very first people to be involved with stress debriefing for victims at accident scenes.”
Walsh characterized Morin as being “very community-service minded” which seemed to fit in with Morin’s inability to stay away from the Fire Department completely. Although no longer an active member, she would not rule out showing up at the scene of a future emergency, in case she could be of some help.
“It’s been a rewarding, challenging adventure in my life,” Morin said of her career as an emergency responder. “I’ve worked for a great group of people and continue to work for a great group of people. Without having each other, we wouldn’t be able to do this kind of work.”
The ceremony at which Morin and others will receive their Extraordinary Service Awards took place on June 26.