BILLINGS, Mont. - In honor of the 49th Annual National EMS Week, St. Vincent Healthcare hosted a community barbeque to thank Billings EMS community and all its providers.

Recognized each year during the last week of May, EMS week is a time to thank first responders for their service and bring awareness to the important role they play in the community.

Calvin Claassen, a firefighter with Billings Fire Department with EMT training, said that sometimes the best form of appreciation a first responder can get is a simple smile.

“We work a 24/48 schedule and so we work long hours but at the same time the public should know that we are always there for them. It's just that when you see us driving on the road, give us a wave, give us a smile, we love to see the community out there,” emphasized Claassen.

Eric Fisher, the Trauma Outreach and Injury Prevention Coordinator with St. Vincent Healthcare, said that the community barbeque started in 2014 as an effort to recognize Billings EMS providers for their hard work.

"We never really had much of this for years and years. In fact, actually it really did kind of start probably around 2014. We recognize that we needed to make sure that we say thank you for the day in and day out accomplishments of these guys. They make a lot of sacrifices. EMS with St. Vincent—This is a partnership. We look at them as an extension of our hospital. So, number one, we want them to provide good quality care and we want to make sure they are recognized for that,” added Fisher.

Take some time to reach out to the EMS community of Billings and surrounding areas during this week to show your support and appreciation.

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