Spirit EMS’ John R. Hathaway Jr. named Indiana’s EMT of the Year

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(Submitted photo)

INDIANAPOLIS – As the nation commemorates 50 years of National EMS Week, a Greenville man is celebrating the honor of being named Indiana’s EMT of the Year.

John R. Hathaway Jr., an EMT with Spirit EMS, which operates in both Ohio and Indiana, received the prestigious award at the annual Indiana EMS Association banquet held in Indianapolis. This event, now in its seventh year, recognizes the best EMS providers past and present in the state. Hathaway was selected as the Hoosier State’s top EMT of the Year based on a nomination made by his company earlier this year.

The company’s nomination highlighted Hathaway’s unwavering dedication to service at the age of 70. The application stated, “EMT Hathaway exemplifies unwavering dedication to service, demonstrating readiness to aid patients at all times, under any conditions, epitomizing true reliability and compassion.” John is known for his adaptability and willingness to travel to whichever station needs him, whenever and wherever required. Whether it involves transporting a patient back to their nursing home at 3 a.m. or providing urgent care to someone experiencing a heart attack on Christmas morning, John is among the first to answer the call of duty, regardless of the situation.

Hathaway’s work ethic is humorously summarized by his philosophy: the only excuses for not showing up are being “dead or in jail.” His exemplary service and perfect attendance earned him a new 2022 Toyota Rav4 in 2022, awarded from a pool of seven finalists recognized for their unwavering commitment.

Hathaway’s career shift from dairy farming to becoming an EMT was driven by a vision to expand the company’s services, demonstrating his adaptability and dedication to community service. His daily interactions are characterized by a unique blend of humor and empathy, a tribute to his brother Keith, and an effort to continue his legacy of spreading joy. His agricultural background has instilled in him values of hard work and perseverance, principles he applies to his work as an EMT, often reminding others of the importance of commitment with his maxim, “the cows won’t milk themselves.”

His compassionate nature extends beyond professional duties, offering comfort and encouragement to patients and their families, significantly impacting their lives. Hathaway’s ability to infuse humor into daily interactions, coupled with his genuine concern for others, makes him a beloved figure among patients and colleagues alike.

During the awards ceremony, a particularly touching story was shared about Hathaway transporting a high school student facing mental health challenges who expressed a desire to pursue a career as an EMT. Hathaway encouraged her, saying that with determination and a positive mindset, she could achieve her goals. Inspired by his words, she pursued and completed EMT training after graduating high school and now proudly serves alongside him at Spirit EMS, crediting John with inspiring her to seize life fully and assist others during their most challenging times.

When Hathaway was called to the stage to receive the honor this past weekend, he was initially speechless. “I want to tell you, I was clueless, but I’m honored beyond belief,” Hathaway said. “Every day I go to work I want to make the day better for someone else because that way it’ll make it better for me.”

Hathaway went on to explain what inspires him to continue putting in countless hours for the good of others. “I had an uncle captured during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge. He tells the story that Patton’s army drove their tanks through the barbed wire fences to free him from that prisoner of war camp. Having this job gave me the opportunity to serve four people of that army that released him from that prisoner of war camp… and that, my friends, is my greatest honor.”

Spirit EMS offers its congratulations to John R. Hathaway Jr. on this well-deserved recognition. His dedication and compassion continue to make a significant impact on the lives of many.