HUDSON — The former longtime leader of the city’s EMS department is being remembered for her dedication to the job, the pride she took in it and for being an "inspiration" to EMS members.
Claire T. Truesdale died on Jan. 6 at the age of 89. She was a founding member of Hudson EMS and served as its first director from 1977 to her retirement in 1997.
Cindy Murphy, who is now the executive assistant to Hudson Fire & EMS Chief Jerry Varnes, said she worked as an EMT with Truesdale for about a decade.
"She was pretty dynamic," said Murphy. "She could do most anything."
Hudson EMS Captain/Paramedic Sue Carter said she worked with Truesdale for 18 years.
"Claire loved being with Hudson EMS," said Carter. "She loved being a paramedic, being the director. She was really, really proud of the organization."
Varnes called Truesdale "an incredibly dedicated and compassionate person."
"She was the heartbeat of Hudson EMS from its inception through her retirement," said Varnes, who noted he worked with Truesdale for 20 years. He called Truesdale "an inspiration and mentor" to both himself and many other EMS members.
Murphy remembered that Truesdale taught EMT classes, responded to emergency calls and worked in the office as the city’s EMS director.
Murphy said Truesdale was a "very good" teacher who insisted that her students practice the necessary skills during the instructional sessions.
"She made sure you got involved," said Murphy. "She had you do the skills that needed to be done. She made sure you knew what you were doing before you went out there."
Carter said some of her EMS colleagues told her that Truesdale was "always a teacher," and that EMS calls always provided her with a "teachable moment."
Carter said Truesdale was "gifted in her ability to talk to people," speaking about and promoting the department as often as she could.
"She loved being out there talking about EMS, teaching the community about our organization," added Carter.
When she did that, Carter emphasized that Truesdale didn’t take credit for herself.
"She was taking the credit for the [volunteers] that made the department."
She noted another EMS colleague said Truesdale "lived Hudson EMS 24/7 …she was the face of our department."
Murphy recalled Truesdale was in the EMS department all the time, and even after working all week regularly logged a Saturday evening EMS shift. She said Truesdale "took control" of the situation when she responded to a call for EMS service.
"She was the paramedic on the call," said Murphy. "She was a very dynamic lady. She could do anything."
Murphy said Truesdale recruited her to volunteer for Hudson EMS and added she "was always recruiting" people to join the department.
"She saw you in the grocery store and you looked at her, you were probably going to become a member," said Murphy.
Though Truesdale was paid as the EMS director, Varnes said she spent "thousands of hours volunteering for Hudson EMS over and above her normal work hours."
"Hudson EMS would not be the amazing organization that it is without the steadfast vision, passion and leadership of Claire Truesdale," said Varnes. "She will be missed."
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.