Like many others, I have known Jim a long time and have held him in highest regard as a person and a tireless consummate professional.
I had the
pleasure of meeting Jim for the first time in the late fall of 1976 while I was an EMT student at the College of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ (CMDNJ).
Who would have thought that initial meeting would have resulted in an almost 30 year friendship? The CMDNJ program was headed by another EMS leader and visionary that we have recently lost Jud Fuller.
Jim has always been, not only interested in the "organization" of EMS, but also the individuals who comprise EMS. Personally, I found it just incredible that here is this person that I have read about and seen speak at many engagements literally on his hands and knees working with aspiring EMT's and Paramedics on the operation of an early version of the "Robert
That chance meeting truly established my first and
lasting impression of "James O. Page". Jim not only loved EMS, he wasn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and get in to the middle of something difficult that would result in making it and us better.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of "rolling up my sleeves" and working with Jim on a number of projects and issues. During this period I enjoyed the privilege of numerous hours of his time learning to look at issues from all perspectives; always in search of the truth; always with an eye towards enhancement and the future. For this I am sure I am a better person, Paramedic and Chief Officer.
Jim was a giving man. Whether it was helping EMS grow, assisting the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians address matters that impact the "street folks" he so loved, providing guidance to a "rookie" or donating his time to defend an EMT in trouble, Jim Page did it with wisdom, sustained energy, great probity, conviction and vision.
This has been a tough 24 months for EMS as a profession.
While I am sure that there are other EMS pioneers that have passed on that I can't recall at this writing, during this time frame we've lost the likes of Judson H.
Fuller, James B. Gargan, Leo R. Schwartz, Nancy Caroline MD, Peter Safar MD and now Jim Page. The collective loss creates a void that will impact EMS for a long time.
But while I mourn the loss of James O. Page, I greatly celebrate his life and friendship.
There are very few constants in EMS. People will get sick or injured.
Someone will call 9-1-1 seeking assistance. EMS will respond to rescue the afflicted and tend to their injuries in a professional manner.
And last, but not least, if there was a way to better EMS or an EMS member needed assistance, Jim Page would be there protecting the protectors, in many cases engaged in pro bono work defending EMT's and Paramedics that he felt were being treated unjustly.
Rest in peace my friend and know that you have left a legacy of generosity, professionalism and saving lives.
Paul M. Maniscalco is a Past President of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, Chairman of the NAEMT National EMS Administrators Division and a former Deputy Chief Paramedic for one of the largest urban EMS systems in the world. He is also an Assistant Professor at George Washington University's Response to Emergencies and Disasters Institute.