Thomson's first emergency medical technician, Brenda Crawford Mack, died Sunday.
Mrs. Mack worked as an EMT and paramedic for the McDuffie Regional Medical Center for 32 years before retiring in February 2010. She was well known within the community for spearheading the campaign to bring emergency medical care to the Thomson-McDuffie area, eventually succeeding in 1977.
When she was 17, Mrs. Mack began studying for the EMT boards and became certified when she was 18. Later that year, ambulances came to McDuffie County, and Mrs. Mack became one of the first employees.
Her family owned a funeral home when she was growing up and would use the hearses to take patients to the hospital before ambulances came to Thomson. Mrs. Mack said she would sit in the back and comfort the passengers and that gave her a desire to help others, even at a young age.
That heart for others made her an invaluable asset to McDuffie County's emergency medical community, according to co-worker and McDuffie County EMS director Tim Edwards.
"Brenda was a one-of-a-kind person," he said. "She had a contagious laugh, a positive attitude and was overall just a great friend. To our department, she was like family."
Mr. Edwards said that even after Mrs. Mack's retirement, she remained very involved and would stay in touch with him and other co-workers.
"She was still a fixture," he said. "We still had that connection."
Mrs. Mack was married to Rhusha Mack, McDuffie County coroner, and the couple shared their love of helping others in difficult times.
"He's my love," she said in a 2010 interview with The McDuffie Mirror .
Mrs. Mack was preceded in death by her son, Rhusha Mack Jr., and survived by her husband and daughter Jakayla.