SWOYERSVILLE – In 1974, two things happened in Ed Connor’s life that would greatly impact his future.
The first was that, while a student at the University of Pittsburgh, a friend who had volunteered with a fire department encouraged him to look into becoming an emergency responder and he started watching “Emergency,” a television show about an ambulance staff.
Although Connor did not immediately become an emergency responder, the idea had been firmly planted in his mind.
After graduating from Pitt in 1977 and settling into his insurance career, he joined the Dallas Fire Department, learning as much as he could about fire service.
In 1980, he joined the Dallas Ambulance and got certified in Advanced First Aid and CPR.
Just as Connor wanted to learn as much as he could about the fire service, he was also wanted to learn about the ambulance service.
In the fall of 1983, he enrolled in the EMT program at Luzerne County Community College, meeting lifelong friend and colleagues, including Jay Delaney, the Wilkes-Barre fire chief.
Connor remained active with Dallas Fire and Ambulance until the summer of 1988 when, after getting married, he moved to Swoyersville.
Immediately, he joined the Maltby Fire Department and the Swoyersville Ambulance, becoming captain within a few months and bringing in many new EMTs.
From 1988 to early 1996, Connor averaged about 200 volunteer ambulance calls a year.
In early 1996, with the rising number of EMS calls, Swoyersville Ambulance began putting on a paid daytime crew. Connor continued to run as a volunteer still averaging a couple hundred calls a year.
It was also during that time that he was hired as an associate EMT instructor at Luzerne County Community College.
In 2004, Connor began running as a paid staff with the Swoyersville Ambulance, but he said his roots remained in volunteering.
“My parents had always volunteered with various organization,” he said. “And that’s where my heart was.”
In 2015, while working a shift at the ambulance, Connor “just didn’t feel right.”
“Sure enough, I was having a stroke and now became a patient rather than a provider, a role I wasn’t used to,” he said. “I spent five days at Geisinger Wyoming Valley and had months of therapy.”
One of Connor’s most memorable moments was when State Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Kingston, honored him with a proclamation for his years of service, following the stroke.
And although Connor did have a wonderful, fulfilling career to look back on, he was also looking forward.
“One of the first people to reach out to me during my recovery was my good friend and trusted EMS colleague, Chris Keats,” he said. “He reminded me about the hundreds of people I helped throughout my career. And at that moment, I realized and knew a comeback was in the works.”
Fast forward to August 2017 and Connor’s family doctor cleared him to run EMS calls again.
“No heavy lifting and I’m running as a third person on a crew,” he said, “but (I’m) sharing my nearly 38 years of EMS experience and mentoring new EMT’s.
“Yes, this old guy still got it.”
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