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Bay Co. First Responders Comfort Grieving Family

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - "Normally in this line of work when you've been doing it so long, you detach yourself," said Bay County Paramedic Marysa Kirby.

It's a defense mechanism first responders use to protect themselves when things get heavy. 

"You don't want to go visit the family. That makes it personal," said Kirby.

But this time was different for Kirby and her partner, EMT Preston Tucker.

"That still small voice, if you will, [I] heard God tell me, go speak with them. Check on them," said Kirby.

Hours earlier, their patient they were transporting to the hospital, was expressing his concern for his wife. 

"The last words he said was 'How's my wife doing?' I said, She's doing fine, sir, she's coming up behind us. And she'll meet us at the hospital. I just wanted to make sure she's taking care of, and at that time, he went unresponsive."

It was on of his last conversations and one Kirby knew she needed to share.

"I went back and talked to his wife and told her what her husband had said and at that time, they asked me to pray for them."

Among 20 other family members at the hospital, Kirby bowed her head and prayed.

A compassionate gesture that didn't stop there.

"For some reason, it reminded me of my own family," said Kirby. "It was just close to me, so I wanted to go to the funeral."

A few days later, Kirby and Tucker paid their respects at the man's funeral. 

"For some reason, it reminded me of my own family," said Kirby. "It was just close to me, so I wanted to go to the funeral."

"Their faces lit up, when we came to say final goodbyes, and (we) gave the wife a hug, and the family a hug," said Tucker.

Kirby said she and the woman still keep in touch. 

"I gave her my phone number, and I said call me anytime, if you want to hear the words, your husband last spoke, because that can be healing for anybody."

In a heart felt thank you letter to Bay county EMS, a family member referred to both Kirby and Tucker as "a ray of sunshine on an otherwise dark day."

Both say caring and being compassionate is just part of the job.

"It's part of our calling and our job to follow up and care about the citizens," said Kirby.


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