MONROE, CT — Monroe’s emergency medical service volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, from their ages to their occupations. The Monroe Sun will run profiles to introduce you to a few during National EMS Week.
John Brenna, 75, a town resident of 50 years, has three adult children and two grandchildren. His late wife, Marge, was a 31-year volunteer of the Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, who was an EMS instructor and CPR/first aid instructor.
“She had a passion for doing this,” John Brenna said. “It brought out the best in her in terms of her knowledge, skills, compassion, kindness and helpfulness. She was the membership training czar here.”
John Brenna is president of Topex Inc., a medical X-ray device manufacturing company based in Danbury. When he returned home from a business trip in Utah over 18 years ago, Marge encouraged him to join the Monroe EMS.
“She said, ‘why don’t you take the class? We can do shifts together,'” Brenna recalled, “and we did.” Their son David became an emergency medical responder and joined his parents.
“We did a Thursday night shift and a Sunday afternoon shift as a family and a lot of other shifts,” Brenna said. “I really enjoyed it. I also did shifts with other people here, which was good. It was both family and a second family.”
In addition to volunteering an emergency medical technician at the MVEMS, Brenna joined the Monroe EMS Commission in 2004 and has been chairman since 2016. While serving on the commission, Brenna has enjoyed taking part in upgrading technology for the MVEMS over the years.
“I’m a device person,” he said. “I like to see new ways of handling patients. We were instrumental in getting the battery powered stretchers that can lift up to 750 pounds.”
Of being an EMS volunteer, Brenna said, “the best part about it for me is it was a growth experience, because I could help people in need. You see them at their worst and you’re there to help them with a smile and a kind word in addition to any treatment they need.”
Brenna said he also likes how EMS members learn from each other by sharing their experiences from different calls.
“There are extremely valuable, fantastic people here, including the paramedics,” he said. “You’re learning as you go along. You really enjoy that type of environment, because it’s a never ending learning experience. That’s why I’m 75 and still enjoying it.”
If someone asked Brenna about joining the MVEMS, he said he would tell them it is a wonderful opportunity to help others and learn how to handle medical and trauma conditions, stop bleeding and perform CPR.
“If you have the compassion in you to help others, this is an excellent organization because you’ll be working with other members who share that same compassion,” Brenna said. “It’s a learning experience and age is no barrier.”
Interested in becoming an MVEMS member? Send an email to [email protected].