Photos by Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor                                                                                                  Livingston County EMS Paramedic Tracy Camelet was accompanied by her daughters Brianna (left) and McKayla (right) and granddaughter Aubrie when she accepted the MAFF Special Recognition Award.


By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor

MAFF Executive Board Secretary Tracy Camelet, a  Livingston County EMS Paramedic, was honored by the Union with a MAFF Special Recognition Award for four decades of service.

“When she started EMS 40 years ago, latex gloves were not a thing,” said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Jerald James. “She may very well be the longest serving female Paramedic in the State of Michigan. When you hear of someone who has made that kind of sacrifice, it’s truly a remarkable feat.”

MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Jerald James, left, honored Camelet for her 40 years of service.

Camelet was surprised with the award during the 2021 MAP Annual Holiday Open House in December.

“She’s one of the most humble people I’ve ever met,” James said. “She helped with negotiations and grievances. So many times, we hear about our Police Officers and Firefighters, but to have a person who has responded to 50,000 9-1-1 calls truly shows a commitment to the health and safety of the citizens and visitors of Livingston County.”

Her dedication to MAFF is evident. Instead of winding down before her planned retirement March 1, 2023, Camelet opted to take on additional Union responsibilities. She was elected Treasurer of the MAFF Executive Board in late 2021 and elected Local Union Vice President in October 2021. Prior to that, she served as Local Union President for six years before taking a couple years off. In 2021, she and former Local Vice President, Autumn Millerov, ran for each other’s former roles.

“Autumn and I are a team,” Camelet said. “Now she’s President and I’m Vice President because I knew I was going to be leaving.”

Camelet has served 35 years with Livingston County EMS and has been a MAFF member for the past 12 years.

“I started in 1981 with the ambulance attendance license,” she said. “That was advanced first aid. Then I obtained my EMT license in 1982. Then I got my medic license in December 1985 and I hired into the County in September 1986.”

Camelet spent the first five years of her career at Perry-Morrice-Shaftsberg Ambulance Service, located between Perry and Okemos, as a medical attendant and EMT.

“When I got my medic license at the end of 1985 from Davenport University in Grand Rapids, the (Perry-Morrice-Shaftsberg Ambulance) service was basic service,” she said. “There were no medics, so that’s why I came down to Livingston County to work.”

Throughout her four decades handling emergencies, Camelet has endured by remaining calm in crises.

“You can’t call somebody when your baby’s not breathing and the medic gets there and falls apart,” she said. “You have to learn how to disconnect from emotion to help people. I tell new hires, ‘If you’re in this line of work to save everybody, you are in the wrong line of work.’ You have to go home every night knowing you did the best of your ability and did everything you could do.”

Medical advances over the years have greatly improved favorable patient outcomes. Even drug overdose victims have a greater chance of survival due to emergency personnel carrying Narcan, a drug that reverses overdose effects.

“We save more people than we used to because we have the tools and the knowledge,” she said.

COVID-19 has definitely added to stress levels, but Camelet is used to stress. “It’s kind of like what we’ve dealt with all the years. Early on, we never wore gloves, we did mouth-to-mouth (resuscitation),” however, she said, “We’ve seen all kinds of things with AIDS, SARS and the Bird flu. You just kind of take it and roll with it. Now we use a bag to ventilate people. Now we use gloves, which came back with AIDS. Now we’ve started to wear these masks with COVID.”

The difference between COVID-19 and those other deadly diseases, however, is the expanded impact. “I think with COVID, out of all of them, that we we’re more apt to take it home and endanger our families,” she said.

At the end of the day, Camelet turns to her faith for support to continue saving lives year after year, even during a pandemic.

“There’s a bigger power,” she said. “God has helped me through it.”