Saving lives is a family affair for Covington EMT State Champions
COVINGTON, Virginia. – Beating larger teams with bigger budgets, a local volunteer rescue team proves its worth. Covington won a state title, gaining notoriety as the best in the Commonwealth to save lives as paramedics. It’s not just the trophy that makes this team special – everyone is family.
While it can be hard to imagine working with your immediate family members, the Markhams love it. They admit it can be difficult at times, but said they’ve formed a bond that helps them treat patients better.
“It’s almost like you know what the other person needs or is doing without them ever having to speak,” said Shane Markham, the son of the family. With 95 years of combined experience, the Markham family’s volunteer paramedics with the Covington Volunteer Rescue Squad have seen it all together at work and at home.
“It’s in your blood or not. There is no middle ground. I guess I had it in my blood, ”said Roy Markham, the father of the family. He joined in 1984. It turns out his wife Teresa Markham had it in her blood as well. She joined in 1997 when her children were old enough that the couple could put aside calls together.
“I love it,” Teresa Markham said. “I just like helping people.” “I didn’t treat her any differently from any other member,” Roy Markham said.
These life-saving skills were passed on to their two children, Candace Hoke and Shane Markham.
“Mom and dad did it. Watching them come out over the years has only grown in me. I said, “I think I want to do this,” Hoke said. She started with an interest in the medical field. She now works as a nurse. She has been part of the rescue team for 20 years. Like his sister, Shane joined the Junior Rescue Teams program at the age of 16.
“My mom, my dad did it, my sister did it. I was like fine… let me give it a shot, ”Shane said. “I’ve stuck with this ever since. He has been a member for 15 years.
“Thanks are rare, but when you get one while you’re in public, that’s when you know you’ve come to the right place,” Shane Markham said. “It made it more rewarding. To do with the family. This is my squad family; they are my second family. But also doing it with my biological family … it just made him a little more special. He just got the upper hand. I like helping people, ”Hoke said.
If you are wondering what it was like at work after having family feuds at home, the Markhams have said they make it a rule to leave him at home.
“Oh no. You leave them behind. The whole time my kids were in there, I told them you don’t call me mom. I’m a member like everyone else. You call me Teresa. C ‘is the only time I have allowed them to call me by my first name, ”said Teresa Markham.
They’ve made a lot of memories over the years, crying together and saving lives together. The pains and joys of emergency medical work have been a shared family process.
“You still have that support at home,” Hoke said. Each has competed on the Covington team as part of the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads competition with other members over the years, but never all together. This year was different. Now seated in their Trophy Hall of Fame in the Covington Boardroom is the team’s first State Championship for paramedics.
In uniform and by blood, this family was the right combination as a team to be recognized as the best in the Commonwealth.
“I am so proud of this. We’ve worked so hard over the years to get to this moment, ”Hoke said. “The fact that we were parents. it was like oh my god, that makes it even more special.
“Like I said, it’s in the blood,” Roy Markham said. “It was exciting to win first place and all four of us raced together,” said Teresa Markham. A family that works together stays together and, as the Markhams prove, can even save lives together.
Volunteering with local rescue teams and fire departments is not as common as it used to be. The decline in the number of volunteers is a national problem. The Covington Volunteer Rescue Team is looking for more members to join its team or junior program. If you would like to be a part of this award winning rescue team, you can contact them on Facebook.
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