Columbia firefighter Jon Taylor, pictured above, shares his calling and love for serving our local community in EMS. Background photo courtesy of Spencer Davis.
Story and photo
By John Hummer
Jon Taylor spoke about a call he responded to last week and it sums up why he loves working in emergency medical services (EMS). He was called to a home where a 10-year-old girl was having an asthma attack. “We just entered the house, and she was in a back bedroom, and we could hear her wheezing,” he noted. “We picked her up, took her to the truck, and got her started on a breathing treatment. By the time we got her to the hospital she was no longer wheezing, she was breathing better, and she got a lot more color back into her face. But . . . had we not been there, I don’t know how her night would’ve gone.
“She was really scared when we got there – absolutely terrified,” Taylor continued. “She was fine and able to talk, and she wasn’t nearly as scared anymore. To top it off, the girl received a new stuffed animal from Taylor. “That was a good day – that was a good call.”
Taylor graduated from Jackson’s Northwest High School in 2013. Upon graduation, he moved to St. Louis, Mo., where he started college while working various jobs. However, he never found his track there.
Taylor moved back to Michigan in 2017 and attended Jackson College for his emergency medical technician and paramedic licenses. He earned an associate degree in Allied Health with an emergency specialization and obtained his emergency medical technician license in 2018 and his paramedic’s license in 2019.
“After about two classes, I said, ‘This is it. This is what I need to be doing,’” he shared. (more below)
Taylor explained that getting an emergency medical technician (EMT} license is only a semester-long course while getting a paramedic’s license can take anywhere from 14 months to two years. “That requires a lot more schooling, there are a lot more skills involved,” he said of obtaining the latter, adding that paramedics can give pain medications, breathing treatments, start IVs, give fluids, and hook up a cardiac monitor to name a few. “They’re the people that show up, stabilize somebody so that it’s safe to move them, and then get them to the hospital where they’re going to get the care they need. There’s a big gap between what EMTs and paramedics can do.”
Right after he completed his EMT course in 2018, Taylor was hired at the Columbia Township Fire Department. After he was done with his paramedic training in 2019, he obtained a position with Jackson Community Ambulance.
Then COVID hit and in mid-2020 Taylor decided to move to where he could live the great outdoor life of hunting and fishing that he enjoys so much – Montana. “I just really liked the idea of being out west – up in the Rockies hunting and camping. The way they hunt versus the way we hunt is so different – I was really enamored with it and really wanted to try it out,” he said. “And I like seeing other parts of the country and other parts of the world – I think it opens up your perspective.”
While enjoying that life for a while, Taylor worked for an ambulance service in Billings, Mont. But the job wasn’t satisfying to him. “It just wasn’t a great fit,” he noted. So, he tried another new thing out there. “I worked for the post office for about a year. Going from EMS and fire to not doing that – the way I kind of like to put it is ‘I’m not meant to do anything else.’ I hated not working in EMS. I hated not working in the fire department. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything that did me good. (more below)
“Something my grandpa told me the year before he passed away was, ‘Leave the world better. If you can help – help.’ And I felt like I wasn’t doing that anymore.”
Taylor then left his Montana dream and returned to his roots here in Brooklyn in June of this year. He is a family man and missed things like hunting with his dad. “I really came back to be around my family,” he said.
But that wasn’t all Taylor missed. “I missed this place,” he said of the Columbia Township Fire Department. “I love being with this department.”
In the meantime, Fire Chief Scott Cota was trying to woo him back. “He was sending me pictures of my department ID and my uniform shirts,” Taylor said.
Come June 2021, Taylor was back in Michigan working with the Columbia Township Fire Department as a paid-on-call firefighter. He is also back with Emergent Health Partners but this time with Lenawee Community Ambulance.
When Taylor isn’t at work doing what he loves, you can usually find him hunting and fishing. “I’m excited. I love hunting. It’s a great time of year.” Aside from that, he says, “I try to be as active and social as I can.”
Taylor’s parents still live in Brooklyn; four siblings live in Ohio, two in Genesee County, and one in Benzie County near Traverse City.