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GRAFTON — The Grafton Rescue Squad recently recognized three of its longtime members who collectively have volunteered over 115 years of service as emergency medical responders.

These three responders — Stan Mack, Eric Stevens and Cathy Siano Goodwin — are well-known in the region not only because of their service with Grafton Rescue but because of their involvement in various other community and emergency service organizations throughout the years. Mack was one of the founding members of Grafton Rescue when it was organized in 1981 as the First Aid Stabilization Team, or FAST Squad. Stevens joined shortly after in 1982, and he and Mack were among the first members to become licensed emergency medical technicians. Siano Goodwin joined a few years later and became the first advanced level EMT on the squad.

In his comments at a recent recognition event, Grafton Rescue President Keith Hermiz said that “over their years of volunteering these three responded to thousands of calls. They cared for the sick and injured, they tried to save the dying, and they acknowledged the dead and comforted their loved ones. Many, many people were touched by and are grateful for what they did. But as all first responders know, doing these things for even one year can be punishing. They each did it for decades. The journey of the emergency medical provider is always uphill. We must constantly upgrade our skills to meet the changes in protocol and accepted medical practice. We must constantly train to keep our skills sharp, remembering that those that we don’t use often are possibly the ones most likely to save a life. We must face new risks and train to deal with them: swine flu, Ebola, COVID, monkey pox, terrorism, mass shootings. That uphill journey is challenging enough to endure for a year or two; Stan, Eric and Cathy did it for 40 years.”

Hermiz went on to say that “beyond these considerable burdens of simply being a medical first responder, each of these three members moved our squad forward in their own way. All three served as squad president, which meant they had to deal with all the things that sustain the squad: membership, medical guidance, finances and operations, to name a few. They had to make decisions about equipment, our trucks and where we called home. Stan was a founding member, recognizing the need for emergency medical services in Grafton and having the vision to help make that happen. Eric also had vision and drove the project that resulted in the construction of our solar-powered radio repeater on Bear Hill, a critical communications link for our squad, the Fire Department, and the town, and he continues to be the force behind its operation. Cathy invested in training to become an advanced provider and, in so doing, enabled the squad to upgrade its license and provide a higher level of care to the community. Stan, Eric and Cathy’s contributions serve as the pillars of our squad’s foundation.”

Each of the honorees spoke to the group, sharing memories which brought forward laughter and tears, and stories that couldn’t be shared anywhere else. Stevens summed up the commitment and dedication of all three when he said simply, “I like to help people.”