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Mayo Clinic paramedic celebrates 38 years helping his community

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DULUTH, MN-- Thomas Spang a registered paramedic has spent his career serving the people of his hometown in Duluth.

"My father was a physician and my mother was an RN," he said. "So, I guess I was pretty much born into gravitating towards some sort of medical situation."

In fact, he's been serving his community with the Mayo Clinic ambulance service for 38 years.

"It feels like a long time in one way and in another way, it's gone by very quickly. It's been so rich with opportunity and events," said Spang.

Over the years he's been on many calls, being there for people at their best and worst moments.

For Spang, being able to help people is what keeps him coming back.

"I love working with people, and the patient care aspect is quite rich too. It's a thing where you get to pick up on a wide range of personalities and if you can help them out that's what we're hoping for."

While technology and practices have changed in the almost four decades on the job, COVID-19 has thrown him a major curveball.

But Spang adds he's been through similar situations when it comes to fear on the job.

"We were dealing with the first AIDS patients and HIV. We gained an understanding and we learned how to work with it, keep ourselves protected, learn to identify so we can keep everyone protected," said Spang. "The safety trends that came out of that were very important for us."

He said working in his hometown makes coming to work every day that much more enjoyable, especially after all these years.

"It's nice to be somebody who's indebted in the community but still is able to practice a profession within that community. It does have more of a personal touch," he said.

Spang is considering retiring in the next few years.
He adds he would like to continue being involved in the community and using his medical credentials wherever he can.

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Emma Quinn

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