National EMS Week Spotlight: Ed Rust

DLA Aviation Public Affairs


National Emergency Medical Technician Week will be celebrated May 19 – 25.

According to the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians website, in 1974 President Gerald Ford authorized Emergency Medical Services Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation's communities. Back then, EMS was a new profession and practitioners had only just started to be recognized as a critical component of emergency medicine and the public health safety net. EMS is now firmly established as an essential public function and a vital component of the medical care continuum.

EMS practitioners care for their patients' medical needs and show caring and compassion to their patients in their most difficult moments. As part of National EMS Week, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and DLA Installation Management Richmond are spotlighting an emergency medical technician at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, to honor his dedication in providing day-to-day lifesaving services on medicine's "front line.


Name: Ed Rust


Fire and Emergency Services Branch, Security and Emergency Services Division,

DLA Installation Management Richmond


Years of service:

28 years with DLA


What is your job, specifically?

Firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic, Hazmat Technician


Why did you decide to go into a public service career?

It’s how I was raised. My family has always been involved with helping others. I became a volunteer firefighter 40 years ago, served four years in the Navy and five in the Coast Guard. I wanted to be a career firefighter for a long time, and I was fortunate enough to find that with DLA.


Please share with us a memorable event in your job.

There have been many. One of the scariest and most memorable events was the day I responded as the attendant-in-charge on the ambulance to the base housing units. A six-month-old baby had stopped breathing. As a parent, it was frightening. As a paramedic, it’s unforgettable that I was able to help that child and he was able to go home with his parents a few days later.


What makes for a great day on the job?

Positive outcomes to calls like the one above.


What is your favorite work activity?

Putting my gear away to go home at the end of a shift! Seriously though, I don’t have one favorite activity at work. Even though most days start the same way, and usually end the same way, we never know what’s going to happen in between.


What is your greatest achievement on the job?

Being able to finally talk a repeat patient into going to the hospital. A co-worker would call 911, and the individual would politely decline transport because they didn’t want to be a bother, even though they didn't feel well. After several months, I was able to persuade the individual to let me take them to the ER. The diagnosis was a brain aneurysm. The surgery was successful, and the patient was extremely grateful that we persisted in persuading them to go to the hospital that day.


Did you have any mentors during your career? If so, how did they help you?

Nothing formal. I did have some people that were very good examples of how to do my job and I willingly listened and tried to learn from them. My dad taught me to do that.


What would you say to encourage someone to go into public service?

Don’t expect every day to be sunshine and lollipops, but there are usually more good days than bad. Knowing you did something to help another person, or people, is something not everyone gets to experience. It’s a good feeling.


Do you do any volunteer work in the community? If so, what?

I have been a volunteer firefighter, church usher, handyman, Cub Scout leader and school volunteer. I don’t currently do any volunteer work in the community as I am planning my retirement at the end of the year, starting a small business, and preparing for my daughter’s wedding at the end of the month.


What are you usually doing when not at work?

Besides the retirement thing, the small business, and the wedding, I try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and two adult kids. I have learned that no day is guaranteed to anyone, so make the most of each one. Throw in some good books and some hunting now and then, and I’m good.


How do you define excellence?

Doing the best that you can in everything, understanding that not everyone can do everything equally and being willing to learn and to help others achieve their best.


How do you define happiness?

Knowing that my family and I have been blessed by the Lord by having our sins forgiven and that we can look forward to being together for eternity.