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Hospital, emergency responders say goodbye to EMS director

Taking control in an unexpected situation has been the story of Jane Rogers' life. But twice last week, Mrs. Rogers found she didn't know how to respond when she was honored at her retirement.

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Jane Rogers smiles during her ceremony last week at McDuffie Regional Medical Center.

"I am not going to cry," Mrs. Rogers said. "But I am out of my element here, what do I do? I don't know what to say."

More than 40 coworkers, friends, and family members gathered Thursday at McDuffie Regional Medical Center, and more than 70 surprised her Saturday night at Faith Baptist Church to honor Mrs. Rogers on her retirement after 27 years as Director of McDuffie County Emergency Medical Service.

At the hospital's party Thursday, Doug Keir, hospital CEO, gave a speech highlighting Mrs. Rogers' accomplishments from her birth to her retirement, noting that "Jane's personnel record is not at all thin. She's probably one of the most highly-educated people in the area of disaster management in McDuffie County. We are losing a true asset."

Mrs. Rogers was certified as an emergency medical technician and paramedic instructor, first responder instructor, and a cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructor for the American Heart Association. She was trained in three levels of disaster life support in hazardous material awareness, and she participated in the governor's emergency conference for the state office of homeland security, and the Washington D.C. advisory committee for emergency preparedness.

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Mrs. Rogers is greeted by well-wishers as she walks into her surprise party at Faith Baptist Church Saturday night. Her daughters had told her the evening was set aside for a family celebration.

"I'm very proud of all her accomplishments," said Lessie Langham, Mrs. Rogers' daughter. "But I'll be glad to have her back home."

Mrs. Rogers won't be home long. She plans to volunteer as a pink lady at the hospital and for the American Red Cross.

Saturday's celebration was given by Mrs. Rogers' EMS coworkers. Paramedic Brenda Mack said to keep the party a surprise, they held a "fake ceremony" Friday afternoon in the EMS office, complete with sandwiches and a cake.

Mrs. Rogers' daughters then planned to take her out to dinner Saturday night for a fake family celebration. Daughter Lisa Tucker picked up her mother and father; then Mrs. Langham called to say she was experiencing car trouble and needed their help on Salem Road in the parking lot of Faith Baptist Church.

Mrs. Tucker said when they pulled in the church parking lot, her mother still had no clue what was happening. She just assumed an event was going on at the church.

Two ambulances were also parked at the church. According to Mrs. Tucker, Mrs. Rogers wondered aloud what the ambulances were doing there, and wrote the date and time down to check on it later.

"I should have guessed when I saw the two ambulances there, but I didn't. ... I was just overwhelmed, absolutely overwhelmed. I could not believe that they kept this quiet. My guys don't usually keep things quiet, but they sure did this. I never once suspected it," Mrs. Rogers said.

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Hospital Volunteer Coordinator Eva Newsome fits Mrs. Rogers for a pink jacket, signifying her status as a hostpial volunteer during last week's ceremony at the hospital.

The EMS workers emerged from the church building, pinned a corsage to Mrs. Rogers and escorted her inside.

"We are here to honor a special person. ... McDuffie EMS would not be what it is today without you, Jane, and what it is is a family," said Tim Edwards, assistant director.

Gary Palmer, paramedic, told of Mrs. Rogers' leadership abilities, noting that she was one of the first women to be a Director of EMS in Georgia. Mr. Palmer commented that he has worked "at least part-time" at every other EMS in the region, and "because of Mrs. Rogers, we have one of the best EMS services in the region."

"There was nothing I could do without the great team that I had. I was just there, they did the work," Mrs. Rogers said.

Mr. Palmer reminded other EMTs in the audience how difficult it is to be nice when they "pick up the same patients over and over again." Mr. Palmer said that no matter what hour of the day or night Mrs. Rogers was called, she always had a smile on her face, and she's always worked around other people's schedules to help them reach their goals.

"It takes a special type of person to take this kind of job. ... Jane gives 110 percent. ... She's a great example of how we are to love one another," he said.



Web posted on Thursday, January 19, 2006











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