A day after the Thanksgiving long weekend, 7-year-old Emmett was doing what kids his age do best; enjoying his time on the school playground during recess.

"His foot got stuck in one of the twisty fireman poles and he kept moving, but his foot wouldn't move. He heard it [the bone] snap, which was pretty scary for him," said mom Chantal Rowan. 

The school would call Rowan and by the time she got to her son, the ambulance was already there. Rowan, who is a pediatric nurse, said her son was in a great deal of pain, so much so she couldn't get him to calm down or even get a look at his leg.

"Once the EMS crew got there, they were so great with him. There was a younger gentleman, we think his name was Adam and he was a student with them. He was so good to Emmett," she said. "He talked to him like he was a normal person, he wasn't baby talking him. He explained to him that we were going to take him to the hospital and they were going to straighten out his leg so that it wasn't so sore."

Paramedics would administer laughing gas to little Emmett to ease the pain, but not before putting a smile on his face.

"He had to use a little face mask for it and they said it was a Star Wars mask, like Darth Vader and he thought that was really funny," Rowan said. "Then he would try and use a Darth Vader voice."

Rowan said that as a mother, the care, patience, and humour made all the difference in the world not only to her but to her son.

"It made a huge difference. I was worried they weren't going to take him seriously or try and load him up on the stretcher without worrying about his pain or worrying about his anxiety," she said. "But they took the time to make sure he was calm. That was a huge deal for me as a mom to know that he was being well taken care of and it wasn't just another patient that they were transferring."

When asked if she wanted to deliver a special message to any and all paramedics working in the community, Rowan said that even though sometimes not everyone may show that they're thankful, they are.

"Just thank you for what you do. Thank you for caring. I think a lot of people don't realize just how much goes into their [paramedics'] jobs and how much they're giving to the community as a whole."

While Emmett and Chantal's story ultimately had a happy ending, for Airdronian Wendy Contant, her interaction with Airdrie's EMS, came when her mother passed away, though it left a lasting impression on her just as well.

In 2013, Contant's 91-year-old mother who was a resident at Bethany Airdrie was taken to the hospital via ambulance. Contant's mother passed away in the hospital on November 27th. As Contant and her siblings said their final goodbyes, unbeknownst to Contant, Airdrie paramedic Ryan Middleton waited in the hallway.

"There was a knock on the door and it was Ryan. He opened the door and passed a letter. I thought - because I was so messed up - I thought this is an invoice," she said. "My brother started reading it and he got very emotional and then passed it to me and I started reading it."

Middleton had written a letter to Contant and her family which she shared with Discover Airdrie:

Before my partner and I left the hospital we simply wanted to convey our condolences for your family's loss. It is always difficult to say goodbye to a person so close and who is responsible for so much of the people we become. I want to assure you that you absolutely made the right decision to address a higher level of care in her difficult hours. As much as we want a perfect and comfortable place to be in our final hours.

It seems to me that the people we surround ourselves with are infinitely a greater comfort than the room we say goodbye in. Your family was visible comfort to her and we as practitioners appreciate your patience and presence. While there are always things we wish we could repair both physically and mentally, I am sure you understand all too well the limitations of our profession and the complexity of certain health conditions

For what it is worth, my partner and I want you to know that we respect and value the choices you and your mother made regarding her ultimate levels of care. The dignity that you have preserved for your family member is important and we appreciate the difficulty in making those decisions.

There is a little left for me to say about loss besides the encouragement that it is a part of life and a reminder to appreciate the presence of all those still here. Thank you for your time and the obvious consideration you have shown for your loved one.

Sincerely, Ryan & Torbin from Airdrie EMS.

Since her mother's passing, Contant said she has pulled that letter out several times, reading and re-reading it.

"I just want to thank them all very much. I have so much respect for them and what they do and how they look after people," she said. "The fact that one of them took the time to do something special like this. But they all do a lot of special things. They're very important to us and I truly thank them all very much."

Paramedic Services Week, which runs till Saturday is meant to recognize and thank the courageous women and men who respond to urgent and non-urgent medical calls every day, their families who support them and the families of fallen paramedics.

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