Life on the streets
On occasion, at EMS, we were assigned a “detail” of significance when a dignitary or person of high risk would be in Louisville.
When Ted Kennedy came to town, he was escorted around the town giving speeches. My partner and I were chosen to do the detail on him, which meant a background check of depth on us, and to take part in the meetings which occurred before his arrival, planning exit routes, LPD escorts and such to get to the hospital in the minimum amount of time should a shooting or any other untoward event occur.
Both John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated by this time, and great care and planning took place to see to it that the same didn’t happen to Teddy whilst he was here.
I drove behind his limousine, stood by when he made the speeches, and kept a scanning eye, along with the Secret Service and LPD. It was an interesting experience looking for suspicious behavior, even though it was a given that we looked for suspicious behavior all the time.
I took it upon myself to sit in the back of his limousine at times during the day when he was inside places giving speeches. The limo was incredibly equipped with everything you could shake a stick at. A bar, a telephone, luxury seats, and leg room you could put a giant in. However while nosing through the limousine I was not without accompaniment. I had a secret service agent with me the whole time, whether in the ambulance or out. It was a heady day. If I had given way to my insides, I would have shown excitement, but I managed to maintain strict professionalism.
I had numerous brief conversations with Kennedy, and the picture here shows us just before he boarded the plane to leave Standiford Field. He was thanking me, and someone shot the picture. I treasure that day. Politics had nothing to do with it. It was the honor of being chosen to be in charge of his medical care in the event of an emergency, and having been given the trust of EMS to give him the emergent care should it be needed. In a way, it allowed me to be a part of history, even if all I did was stand by. I still have the card that the secret service agent gave me that day. I don’t know why, but I still carry it with me.
Working at EMS was the job of a lifetime, and gave me many opportunities that I did not have prior, nor have I had since. However, I did work on the artificial heart team, and am thinking of doing a series on that. That was not a fun time. But, my readers might like to hear the real inside story.
Until next time,
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