For Houghton, saving lives better than receiving award

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Being a star is not as important to Tim Houghton as being the best paramedic he can be. Devotion to his work is exactly what boosted him to stardom, however.

At 30, a five-year veteran with American Medical Response in Natchez, Houghton will travel today to Washington, D.C., where he will be one of 100 paramedics nationwide to be honored as the 2003-04 Stars of Life, a program sponsored by the American Ambulance Association.

&uot;Tim was selected by the group here because of how well he does his job,&uot; said Jonathan Lewis,

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operations supervisor for AMR in southwest Mississippi, which also serves Concordia Parish, La. &uot;He is compassionate, and he is extremely good at what he does. He exemplifies the definition of a paramedic.&uot;

Houghton reflected on what led him to his position with the ambulance service, even to childhood experiences that gave him a will to help others.

Personal experience, plus the influence of a mother who is a registered nurse, came into play when he began classes at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in an emergency tech class. From there, he continued studies to become a paramedic.

The five years with AMR have been good ones, Houghton said. The company provided a way for him to continue his education. &uot;AMR is exceptional as a company in making arrangements for you to take classes and backing you up for upgrading your curriculum,&uot; he said.

The role of paramedic has suited him well from the beginning. A former high school football star who gained statewide recognition in Louisiana, he learned to love the rush of adrenaline in sports. That same kind of rush can come on an emergency call.

&uot;Being out on a call and knowing you’re the difference in someone making it to the hospital or not, doing exactly what you know how to do, working exactly the way you were trained &045; that is the best reward, that you may have saved a life, that someone’s alive tomorrow because you saved them today.&uot;

Houghton’s wife, Roxan, will accompany him to Washington for the celebration, which will include visits to congressional delegations and tours of the city, Lewis said. Roxan Houghton is a part-time emergency medical technician with AMR.

Tim Houghton, nominated locally, was chosen by a committee of AMR managers from throughout the 34 states in which the company operates.

A Natchez native, he grew up in Ferriday, La., and now lives in Jonesville, La. He is licensed in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Six months ago, he was promoted to field supervisor for the Natchez-based southwest Mississippi division of the company. In that position, he supervises 14 to 16 other people on a shift.

Still, however, Houghton has not given up the ambulance work because of the promotion. &uot;I wouldn’t want it to be any other way,&uot; he said. &uot;I don’t want to give up my time on the truck.&uot;