If you’ve ever visited the South Burlington ClearChoiceMD Urgent Care location, there’s a good chance Jim Santorello was involved in your care. He’s a well respected and valued member of the South Burlington team and, as a Nationally Registered Paramedic, he is also a well respected member of the emergency response community. After Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys, he was called into action. He took a two week sabbatical from his job at ClearChoiceMD to go help the many individuals impacted by the storms destruction.
I recently had the chance to discuss his experiences and pick his brain a bit as to why he would up and leave his life, his family, and his job. He shared that he always wanted to use his skills to assist after a major disaster. This desire to help really blossomed after the December 26th, 2004 Tsunami. During his time in the Florida Keys, he lived in a tent side by side with the many other volunteers and was sustained on bottled water and MREs (meals ready to eat). The humidity and the weather proved to be the biggest challenge as it was pervasive, and while the triage tents were air conditioned to a degree, it still added another layer of difficulty to providing effective medical care. While he admits it was a difficult time, it was also an enriching experience. This willingness to help others in a time of great adversity is something that I personally admire in Jim and is a shining example of the type of dedication, compassion, and honor that we hope to exemplify as medical care providers.
For more information on disaster relief efforts or to make a donation, visit: www.redcross.org/about-us/our-work/disaster-relief
Written by Kateland Kelly PA-C, Saint Albans & South Burlington, VT