Why One Woman Volunteers for DRFA

07/28/2020

Durango resident Kim Ebner helps save lives in her position as acquatic supervisor at the Durango Rec Center, and she does the same as a volunteer firefighter for the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority.

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MEET YOUR FIRST RESPONDERS IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BANK OF THE SAN JUANS, ONE BIG HAPPY LITTLE BANK. ASK KIMBERLY EBNER WHAT SHE DOES ON HER TIME OFF AS THE ACQUATICS SUPERVISOR AT THE DURANGO RECREATION CENTER, AND IT SOUNDS A LOT LIKE A SECOND JOB. BUT EBNER ISN'T TALKING ABOUT THE DURANGO WORK TANGO. SHE'S A VOLUNTEER E M T AND FIRE-FIGHTER WITH THE DURANGO FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT, AN AGENCY SHE CALLS HER SECOND FAMILY. EBNER ARRIVED IN DURANGO 20 YEARS AGO AS A FORT LEWIS COLLEGE STUDENT FROM BARRINGTON, ILLINOIS, A SUBURB OF CHICAGO. SHE GRADUATED WITH A DEGREE IN EXERCISE SCIENCE, AND LANDED A JOB WITH THE RECREATION CENTER AFTER GRADUATION. THAT'S WHEN SHE TOOK A CLASS TO BECOME CERTIFIED AS AN EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN, AND SOON FOUND HERSELF JOINiNG THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AS A VOLUNTEER, A COMMITMENT SHE'S KEPT FOR 15 YEARS.
AS A VOLUNTEER, WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET TO PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP, SOMETIMES BEFORE THE PAID STAFF GET THER. THEY COULD BE OUR NEIGHBOR NEXT DOOR, ACROSS THE STREET. WE MIGHT HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM 'CAUSE THEY LIVE BY US AND WE GET TO GET THERE FIRST, OBVIOUSLY GIVE THESE GUYS SOME INFORMATION, THE CAREER STAFF. THAT'S IMPORTANT ON SCENE RIGHT AWAY. AND THEN, ALSO, JUST TO BE THERE FOR OUR NEIGHBORs. MOST OF THE TIME, I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT I RUN ON BECAUSE I'VE BEEN IN THIS COMMUNITY FOR 20 YEARS.WHEN SHE'S NOT TRAINING AS A FIRE-FIGHTER OR RUNNING ON EMERGENCIES IN HER OFF HOURS, SHE SPENDS TIME IN THE OUTDOORS. IF DURANGO OFFERS IT, SHE'S DONE IT. SHE HIKES, BIKES, RUNS, SKIS, BOATS AND SWIMS.
I LOVE DURANGO. YOU KNOW, MOST PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE WOULD TELL YOU WE LIVE HERE FOR QUALITY OF LIFE. AND MY I'M THE SAME WAY. I LOVE THE OUTDOORS. I LOVE ATHLETICS, SPORTS, BEING A PART OF THIS COMMUNITY. IT'S A SMALLER TOWN. GETTING TO KNOW EVERYBODY. ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS. EBNER'S JOB AS THE AQUATICS SUPERVISOR FOR THE REC CENTER IS A PERFECT MATCH FOR ONE OF HER PASSIONS . . . WATER SAFETY. AS A CHILD, SHE WAS A MEMBER OF A LOCAL SWIM TEAM, BUT HER PASSION STEMS FROM THE LOSS OF HER BROTHER WHO DROWNED AT THE AGE OF 9.
SWIMMING IS THE ONLY SPORT THAT CAN ACTUALLY SAVE YOUR LIFE. AND SWIMMING IS A SKILL. IT'S A LIFE SKILL. I'VE ALWAYS SAID SWIMMING IS A LIFE SKILL. IT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN DO FROM BIRTH. WE BIRTH INFANTS IN WATER, ALL THE WAY TO 95, A HUNDRED YEARS OLD. WE HAVE PEOPLE SWIMMING IN OUR POOL. IT IS IN EVERYBODY'S LIFE. FROM BIRTH TO DEATH. WHETHER SHE'S TEACHING KIDS TO SWIM OR FIRST ON THE SCENE OF AN EMERGENCY CALL AT A NEIGHBOR'S, EBNER SAYS SHE LOVES BOTH HER WORK AT THE REC CENTER AND AS A VOLUNTEER WITH THE FIRE DISTRICT.
I TAKE MY TRAINING FROM THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, AND I ACTUALLY PUT IT ON ALL THE YOUNG KIDS IN THE COMMUNITY, WE HAVE A LOT OF LIFEGUARDS, 15 TO 25, THAT HAVE ALSO SAVED LIVES. THEY HAVE DONE CPR. THEY HAVE PULLED PEOPLE OUT OF THE WATER, NOT JUST MYSELF. AND THAT, I'M SO PROUD WHEN THOSE PEOPLE COME BACK AND TALK TO ME ABOUT HOW I'VE TRAINED THEM AND HAVE MADE THEM HAVE SUCCESS STORIES WITH OTHER PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY. I GET WAY MORE OUT OF THIS JOB THAN IT EVER GIVES TO ME. I WILL ALWAYS GET WAY MORE OUT OF TRAINING PEOPLE, GOING TO TRAINING, HELPING PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY. THEY THINK WHEN THEY'RE THANKING ME AND WRITING ME THESE HANDWRITTEN LETTERS THAT IT'S FOR THEM, AND REALLY IT, IT GIVES WAY MORE TO ME.THANKS FOR WATCHING OUR FIRST RESPONDER SPOTLIGHT, BROUGHT TO YOU BY BANK OF THE SAN JUANS AND THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. BE SAFE OUT THERE.

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