After 42 years of dedicating his life to saving others, Roger Martin has retired from the Linton Hospital and the Emmons County Ambulance Service.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for social distancing, Martin asked there not be any fanfare over his retirement — no party, no special get-together or celebration.
He just very quietly walked away.
Yet, those who know Martin feel he is worthy of something more than a quiet departure.
“He is one of the most competent paramedics within the three-county area, possibly even in North Dakota,” said Linton Hospital CEO Robert Black, offering high praise for a man who made a career out of habitually praising and recognizing others.
Martin has been the paramedic in Emmons County since almost the very beginning of the ambulance service there, going back to 1978.
A lot has changed since then, except for Martin’s philosophy of service and life.
“It’s helping other people, it’s being able to help other people and to see that you are actually doing some good in the world,” he explained.
In smaller communities, those first on the scene of an emergency are usually responding to calls from family and friends.
Martin says knowing that has always made him try harder — every call, every time, for the last 42 years.
And when his retirement became known, it prompted cards and letters from grateful people whose lives were touched in some way by Martin.
Hundreds of handwritten notes, hundreds of Facebook messages:
- “I will never forget when you were the first one to answer the call when my dad passed away.”
- “I never saw you rattled, your dedication helped so many.”
- “You were always so calm.”
Stacks of gratitude from those he had mentored.
“Thank you’s” for his time, his service and style, and his grace.
“I’m gonna miss the people, my compadres and my partners,” Martin admitted.
But in the next breath, he says the incoming paramedics are stronger, better, and smarter.
“The hospital will get along without me,” he said.
The people of Emmons County would disagree.
“We’re happy for him that he’s retiring, but it leaves a huge hole in our ambulance, in our paramedic operation,” said Black.
Black points out the Emmons County Ambulance is an ALS Service, meaning it is an advanced life support service.
It’s the only one of its kind south of interstate to the Minnesota border.
He credits Martin for building the department up to that level.
A side note: As part of our KX Gives Back program, we asked Martin what we could do for him.
Of course, he wanted nothing.
So we added our voice to the hundreds who have said, “Thank you — for everything.”