Paula Decker is employed as a coder in the medical records department at Allen County Regional Hospital and works remotely from her rural home in Anderson County. When not behind a desk, she is proud to be certified as an EMT, firefighter, and swiftwater rescue technician.

She recently signed on as one of the first volunteers with Anderson County Hospital’s Emergency Medical Services department, helping her community in yet another remarkable way.

While the hospital’s EMS volunteers do not provide patient-saving care, their presence helps the paramedics and EMT’s who do. Rural areas like Anderson County often implement a volunteer ambulance driver program to ensure paramedics can focus on patient care instead of driving. Volunteers also allow the EMS team to staff a third ambulance when needed.

“Living in a rural area, we are often 20 minutes from an ambulance,” Decker said. “We provide peace of mind and a familiar face when our neighbors call 911.”

Anderson County provides funding support for Anderson County EMS, but Saint Luke’s manages the department and employs the staff.

Anderson County EMS is the only Saint Luke’s-managed EMS service, and it provides service county-wide, covering 600 square miles.

For Decker and other volunteers, this opportunity is just another way to serve their community.

“I encourage anyone to reach out to their local community to find volunteer opportunities,” Decker said. “It’s very rewarding to share your time and talents while helping others. I’m grateful to Saint Luke’s for allowing me the flexibility to volunteer in this way.”