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Travis Elam, left, inventories ambulance supplies with fellow paramedic Jimmy Wilcott. “This is a pretty special field,” he said.

Although paramedic Travis Elam is a modest man, his employer has made him a star.

Bay Cities Ambulance named him the annual “Star of Life” — an award it bestows on an employee to recognize exceptional service.

The award’s name comes from the “star of life” logo — a six-pointed blue star with the medical “rod of Asclepius” in the center — used internationally to designate emergency medical services personnel and units.

“He has a really caring, can-do attitude,”  said his supervisor, Tim Novotny. (He’s no relation  to World reporter Tim Novotny.) “He’s the kind of guy who walks in and lights up the entire room.”

Together with 29 other ambulance professionals chosen by ambulance companies around the United States, he went to Washington, D.C. in March to meet a congressional delegation and see the sights.

He liked meeting the legislators. “You could tell they were happy to see people who were there just to talk, not to lobby,” he said, with a smile.

Elam grew up in Powers, attended Southern Oregon University, and got a bachelor’s degree in health promotion.

Seven years ago, he got his emergency medical technician certification. Three years ago, he became a paramedic, which requires an associate’s degree and additional study, and joined BCA.

To maintain their certification, paramedics must complete 48 hours of continuing education every two years. They also can obtain advanced certification in various specialties, such as critial care paramedic or flight paramedic.

Elam said he plans to stay with Bay Cities Ambulance and pursue a “bridge course” that will lead to an RN degree.

“It’s definitely a rewarding job,” he said. “This is a pretty special field. Almost every day you leave, you feel good about it.”

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