PRESTONSBURG — A longstanding member of the Emergency Medical Services community was honored last week during a ceremony at the TranStar offices for national EMS Week.
Larry Adams has served both as a local firefighter and emergency technician with Prestonsburg Fire Department, and has for the last 10 years also been a trainer of EMS personnel from around the state. As part of last week’s National EMS celebration, Adams was honored by dignitaries and colleagues both for his years of dedicated service. On Friday, he was presented with a Governor’s Citation, a Kentucky Senate citation, and a certificate of membership in the Kentucky Colonels.
Dozens of community members and EMS personnel turned out to say thanks to Larry for all of his years of service.
“Larry has taught so many EMS students over the years,” said Allen Lafferty, owner of TranStar Ambulance. “Larry taught me in EMT class in 1989, and ever since then I’ve always respected Larry.”
Adams was born and raised in Kentucky, but says like a lot of people, he and his family moved to Michigan to find work in the factories.
Larry Adams began his EMS career when he joined the Chelsea, Mich., Volunteer Fire Dept. in 1968. He obtained his EMT Certification in 1976 at the Wastenaw Community College in Ann Arbor Michigan where he also obtained his Instructor license to teach First Aid and CPR with the American Red Cross.
“I just can’t believe all this,” said Adams on Friday.
Larry spent 10 years with the Chelsea Michigan VFD before moving his family back to his hometown of Prestonsburg in 1979. He also became a Fire Service Instructor through the Fire Commission in 1979. He was then hired on at the Prestonsburg Fire Department where he served as the EMS Coordinator.
Adams says it was strange coming from Chelsea where he would roll with four other firefighters to every call. When he got to Prestonsburg, he would be at station 2 by himself, and was told, “If you get a call, roll, and we’ll meet you there.”
According to Adams, on his first call he rolled out to a fire in Goble Roberts addition by himself, and sure enough, “Kenny Crisp was there in full turnout gear waiting by the fire hydrant on me.”
As part of the ceremony, Adams was also reunited with “Freddie the Fire Hydrant”, a robotic hydrant that once scurried about school gymnasiums to the delight of children before being retired. Adams said he had a dream about Freddie recently.
“I knew it was just sitting parked in the closet,” said Adams. “I was going to go ask for it.” Adams says that when he retired from Prestonsburg Fire Department, “Freddie more or less got retired too.
“We went to every school in the county. Anywhere anyone called us and wanted us to come, we would go.”
In 1980 Larry challenged the State’s EMT exam and became Kentucky EMT Certified in February of that year.
In 1993 he became an EMT Instructor Trainer, one of only 18 in the state of Kentucky at the time. Larry taught EMT classes at Mayo State Vocational School in Paintsville, Kentucky and Prestonsburg Community College for several years. He also taught and continues to teach Fire Training Classes through the Ky. Fire Commission at KCTCS.
Larry retired from the Prestonsburg Fire Dept. after 24 years of service as EMS Supervisor in charge of Training, Arson Investigator, Building Inspector, Flood Plain Manager, Zoning Enforcement Officer and was acting Chief of the Fire Department.
In October 2003 he was hired with Trans-Star Ambulance to be the Director of Safety & Training. He not only assists with the continuing education for employees but also teaches EMT, CPR and First Aid Classes to the public as well.
“Every EMT in Eastern Kentucky has been touched by this man,” said Lafferty.
Larry is also the Chief of the David Area Volunteer Fire Dept.
Allen Lafferty says that Adams heart and life have always been wrapped around the EMS world, trying to save lives, teach others to save lives and trying to just make a difference in the world.