VALDOSTA -- Emergency medical technicians and paramedics are an integral part of the Valdosta community. Their quick response and medical training are invaluable to people of all ages living and visiting this area.

South Georgia Medical Center's Emergency Medical Services Department recently recognized two of its dedicated professionals -- Lt. Randy Lancaster and Marci Walker.

Recipient of the 2003 Medic of the Year award, Lancaster has been a paramedic with the department since 1989. He previously worked as an EMT.

Lancaster's colleagues describe him as a "seasoned professional" and someone who remains "cool and calm under pressure." They said his "patient care is always top notch," and "he is a leader that everybody follows willingly."

Lancaster, who received his paramedic training at Valdosta Technical College, loves being in a position to help his fellow neighbor. He said the best part about the job is the constant flow of calls coming in and incidents to respond to.

"There is something different to do everyday," he said. "You never have a chance to get bored."

Over the past 14 years, Lancaster has responded to a number of interesting calls, including baby deliveries, automobile accidents, shootings and heart attacks. His most memorable involved two Valdosta residents.

"There are two people walking around right now who were technically dead when we arrived on the scene," Lancaster said. "They were not breathing. Their hearts were not beating. There was no sign of life."

This is his second time receiving the Medic of the Year award. The first was in 1995.

The 2003 Rookie of the Year award was presented to Walker, a 24-year-old Valdosta Technical College graduate. She has been with the department for a little more than one year.

"I really like helping people," Walker said. "I enjoy everything about my job."

She was shocked to learn her co-workers selected her for the Rookie award.

"It's more special when the people you work with think enough to nominate you for an honor," she added.

Her colleagues describe her as someone who is "always willing to pull extra duties or time," "dependable," "pleasant," and "loyal."

To contact reporter Jessica Pope, please call 244-3400, ext. 255.

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