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Local EMTs return from Gustav relief mission

Lawton_Local emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are back in Lawton with their ambulances after helping with Hurricane Gustav relief.  The Comanche County Memorial Hospital and Kirk's EMTs set out on Friday to help.  Their main job was to transport patients from nursing homes and hospitals in Louisiana.  The four EMTs from Memorial arrived in Lawton on Wednesday morning, and Kirk's are still in Texas. 

EMTs are trained in disaster recovery, but say that there is nothing like the real thing.  They returned to Lawton after little sleep and with empty stomachs, but brought with them experiences that will last a lifetime.  Chad Meyer had never responded to such a scenario before.  "First time for me," he said.  "I've never been involved in any kind of natural disaster, any kind of rescue mission, anything like that ever."

The EMTs said that it was the gratitude of Louisiana's people that made the trip so rewarding.  "Even in convenience stores," said Anthony Neal.  "'Hey, ya'll coming down for the hurricane? We really appreciate ya'll.'  People would come up and ask us were we were from, and they were always quick to thank us for coming."

Kia Knudson said there was one mission she remembered the most.  She and Anthony Neal transported a patient from a burn center that had lost its power.  "That one was really real to me," she said.  "Had we not gotten them out of there, there was a chance that he may not have made it."  Kenneth Pack and Chad Meyer had another burn patient in their ambulance.  "One lady's sister was just crying, and hugging, and didn't want to let go of us after we had safely delivered her sister to another burn center," said Pack.

They said that bringing back knowledge from the mission is what is most important for their jobs.  "This was an educating experience for our team as Oklahoma," said Pack.  "Everything that we learned here, we're going to take back." 

Kirk's team remains in San Antonio where they'll continue with relief assistance by taking patients from hospitals to nursing homes, and transferring critical care patients between hospitals.  No word on when they will return.  7News will let you know.

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