ELBURN For almost his entire adult life, Wayne Stevens has never imagined doing anything other than being a paramedic.
But after more than three decades of service in Elburn
and almost four decades of helping to provide emergency medical care to residents of central Kane County Stevens may need to be creative in finding other things to occupy both his
time and his
"After I found this, there was nothing else I wanted to do," Stevens
Friday, Stevens, assistant chief at the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, ended his shift for the final time, retiring from active duty.
, who oversaw emergency medical systems at the Elburn FPD
, leaves behind a legacy of not only improving emergency medical services in Elburn
, but helping to make those services what they are today throughout central and southern Kane County and beyond, say those with whom Stevens
Stevens career as a paramedic began in Vietnam, where he
served in the Marine Corps, providing medical care to wounded soldiers while awaiting the arrival of the helicopters that would evacuate them to hospitals.
After leaving the military in 1972, Stevens
tried going to college to study business.
But in 1973 his
plans changed abruptly when he
was recruited into the ranks of the Tri-City Ambulance Service.
Organized by Delnor
and Community hospitals, Tri-City
was the first true EMS service to operate in the region.
Working through the former Community Hospital
in Geneva, Stevens
was among those providing EMS services to residents of Geneva and Batavia.
service eventually earned him a promotion to director of Tri-City Ambulance
In 1978, Stevens was hired as director of Elburn Ambulance, a title he held until 2001, when the Elburn Ambulance service merged with the Elburn FPD and he became assistant chief.
Stephanie Hanson, an Elburn firefighter/EMT, worked with Stevens for 15 years.
Capt. Alan Isberg, who also serves as fire marshal at Elburn FPD, served with Stevens at Tri-City Ambulance and was recruited by Stevens to join Elburn Ambulance.
In addition to keeping the Elburn department on the cutting edge, Isberg said Stevens
also helped write manuals and textbooks used by EMS instructors and trainers, while providing instruction personally to hundreds of others.
also spearheaded campaigns to bring CPR and first responder training to the public.
Even in his
final days at the Elburn FPD
continued to speak enthusiastically of his
work, and particularly of the plans for continued instruction.
"We are so much more sophisticated in what we do now," Stevens
said, noting the district now boasts a hazardous materials team and a trench rescue team, which is made up of firefighters and EMTs specially trained to extricate people trapped in loose materials, like a grain bin or spilled top soil.
did not wish, however, to discuss the thousands of calls for which he
had been dispatched.
"I try not to think about those too much, especially the bad ones," Stevens
"It you dwell on it too much, you won't last long in this job."
, 60, of Batavia, said he
doesn't know precisely what he
will do now that he
said riding his
motorcycle, teaching and spending time with his
wife, three children and three grandchildren will be high on his
"I'm ready to write the next chapter of my life, I think," he