Stephanie and Amir Louka met while volunteering with Virginia Beach EMS, the largest volunteer-based EMS system in the country, in 2010.
Stephanie is a life member (EMT-Enhanced) of the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad, and Amir volunteers with the Kempsville Volunteer Rescue Squad as an EMT-B. Both were planning to begin classes at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, VA, that fall.
"At the time, I was a successful marketing executive," says Stephanie. "But becoming an EMS volunteer changed my life. I made the decision to completely switch careers in my 30s."
Amir's story is a little different; with plans to go to med school, he joined Virginia Beach EMS as a way to get hands-on experience.
With so much in common, their relationship thrived, and they were married on October 5, 2013. The wedding celebration was very much a reflection of the couple's interests and passions, including their service as EMS volunteers. Their getaway car was the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad's 1972 Cadillac ambulance.
"EMS is part of who we are as individuals and as a couple," says Stephanie.
"As EMS volunteers, we work together without needing to say what we need; it just happens," adds Amir. "We're on the same page and know exactly what we need to do to make it work. And that carries through to the rest of our relationship, so I know I have the right partner."
Stephanie and Amir are currently emergency medicine residents at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in Richmond, VA, but they both remain active with their volunteer EMS squads and are going through the process to become Paramedics.
Adds Stephanie, "Our EMS experience has not only been crucial to our success in medical school, but it led us to each other as well."