Oct 05, 2018

After 49 Year Career EMT Signs First Union Card

Please join us in congratulating EMT Art White, Local R7-664 member, who recently signed his first union card and wrapped up a 49-year career at Lapeer County EMS! Read the story below or view the original post by clicking here.

(This article was originally published by The County Press and written by Phil Foley.)
 
Longest serving EMT parks his ambulance for the last time

ELBA TWP. — The first time Art White put on an ambulance service uniform the top four songs on the radio were “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies; “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by The Fifth Dimension; “I can’t Get Next to You” by The Temptations; and “Honky Tonk Women” by The Rolling Stones.

The music of 1969 was playing in the training room at Lapeer County EMS (LCEMS) headquarters as White, 73, wrapped up his last shift Thursday afternoon with cake, coffee and well-wishers after 49 years of serving and saving the people of Lapeer County.

“He signed his first union card today,” laughed Russ Adams, LCEMS’ executive director.

Adams noted White was the last charter member of the Lapeer Area Ambulance Service, which merged with Imlay City Department of Public Safety and North Branch Area Ambulance Service in 1997 to form LCEMS. He said White can talk in detail about every ambulance run he’s ever been on and there’s been a lot in the past 49 years. White was working at Pontiac Motors’ Plant 14 when the ambulance company serving Lapeer pulled out and then city manager Arnold Whitney formed a local ambulance service and called for volunteers. White and his brother, Mike, were among the first to answer the call.

“They paid 50 cents an hour, $12 if you did a whole shift,” White recalled. “You didn’t do it for the money.”

After being drafted into the Army in 1965 White began as an MP. “I found my niche and I loved it,” he said. After getting out of the Army former Sheriff Ken Parks hired White first as a reserve deputy and then in 1972 as a full-time deputy. He kept that job until he retired in 1999, but then spent another 16 and one-half years as an officer with the Metamora Township Police Dept.

All that time he was pulling shifts with Lapeer Area Ambulance Service and later LCEMS. He even served as the agency’s executive director — from 1986-88, when it was still a part-time job and then for a short time in 1995 when the then executive director left abruptly.

“It’s been a really good career,” he said. But he added, “It’s time.”

Besides, his EMT license was set to expire and he didn’t want to renew it.

White has joined the American Legion and wants to devote more time to that and he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren.

The American Labor Movement has consistently demonstrated its devotion to the public interest. It is, and has been, good for all America. - John F. Kennedy
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