Harry Besett – Driver

After losing my brakes coming down Slapp Hill, rolling a manure truck three times, before coming to a stop near the railroad tracks, I helped lower HRS’s response time average that year. I reluctantly agreed to transport and will be forever grateful to the “guardian angels” who gave up their time to care for me.

Three months later my son Jonathan was born, and ten years later I mentioned to a squad member (thanks Richard!) that maybe I could help the depleted ranks of HRS after the National Guard call up post 9/11, and Patty called the next day. As a self employed glassblower/craftsmen doing shows around the country I figured if I could drive a van full of glass to shows in New York, or Boston, or Philadelphia, or Washington being hassled by cops and unions and promoters while wondering if I would make enough to stay in business, maybe I have some skills that could be transferable to driving an ambulance. I have always tried not to break what is in the back of my van. I don’t worry about the weather, day or night, because I will drive back through anything to get back home. And, like in my business, with teamwork and good camaraderie, it is amazing what people are willing and able to do.

HRS is about teamwork and community service. Along with the sad and difficult parts comes a unique connection to the patients and the crew members. Helping someone in need and sometimes to survive is a powerful and shared experience but even the most routine calls are to help someone having a bad day. I thought I joined HRS to help our community. What I didn’t realize was I was also learning how our current health care system works and doesn’t work. I used that insight in ways that greatly assisted my parents in their final days in hospital and hospice by being able to speak the language of the providers and understand their pressures, too. And by providing pizza to the nurse’s break room, my loved ones were not just room numbers- they bought the pizza!