Roger Cushman is the recipient of the LifeNet 2020 Star of Life Award, for the Stillwater division.
“Selected by his peers at LifeNet for the annual award, Cushman was originally scheduled to go to Washington D.C. this month to represent LifeNet at the American Ambulance Association’s (AAA) annual Star of Life event,” the press release said.
Cushman started his career path in Emergency Medical Services while in the United States Army National Guard from 1999-2008.
“I enlisted in the National Guard when I was in high school. My family has been in the Army for generations, and it just felt like the thing to do. I was hoping to get college out of it. I joined in 1999, and I started college in the fall of 2001, and then 9/11 happened. In 2003, I served in Iraq and again in 2005-2006. My final rank was a Staff Sergeant E-6 when I got out,” Cushman said.
The press release said Cushman was always looking for opportunities to be promoted during his time in the service. He changed jobs if there wasn’t opportunity to advance.
“In order to advance, you have to look for open slots. I originally enlisted in field artillery, but there wasn’t a lot of potential there, so I changed jobs several times chasing promotions," Cushman said. "I changed from field artillery to cook to administration to medic. The medic job worked for me. I just really enjoyed doing it. I found my niche I suppose."
Once Cushman left the military, he continued his interest in being a paramedic. He went to school and obtained his certification.
“I worked on a volunteer ambulance service in Medford, Oklahoma first. While working for them, I also worked as a police officer in the area. I worked in the sheriff’s office as a dispatcher/jail administrator," Cushman said. "During this time, I picked up a lot of responsibilities as a court clerk, in emergency management, and a lot of other things. That was a big reason for me coming to LifeNet. I felt like I had too much on my plate, and I wanted to pare down."
Cushman started working at LifeNet in Oct. 2017. By Dec. 2018 he had already been promoted to Operations Supervisor.
“I like working for LifeNet because it’s not as busy as Oklahoma City or Tulsa, but it’s still a large variety of calls to keep a person interested. It’s busy enough to where you’re working different calls, so you don’t get bored, but you’re not overwhelmed either,” Cushman said.
Cushman said he is an average paramedic, but when it comes to trauma that is where he shines. His favorite calls to go on are trauma calls.
“That’s what I did in the military. I am a very average paramedic for most things, but when it comes to trauma, I feel like that’s where I shine,” he said. “As a supervisor, what I hear from crews is I don’t sit on problems. I like to solve problems. It’s the same with being a paramedic,” Cushman said.
Cushman offered advice to anyone interested in a career in EMS.
“Be open and accepting of criticism. Paramedics are very prideful of our knowledge, and some might call us arrogant. Having that arrogance makes people shutdown to criticism. Those types of people struggle in EMS. Being open to suggestions helps you grow,” Cushman said.
The press release said Cushman was surprised to learn he had received this award. To him, it made him feel appreciated by the crews, he said.
"It makes me feel like the effort I am putting in isn’t unnoticed. It feels good to have that acknowledgement,” Cushman said.