Longtime local paramedic announces retirement

Longtime Eagle County Paramedics employee Kim Nelson is retiring from her current post as the district’s operations manager. Ryan Bush, right, has been promoted to that position.
Special to the Daily

Kim Nelson, who joined Eagle County Paramedic Services as a part-time employee in October 1995 and became a full-time employee in January 1999, will retire Jan. 31.

Nelson is now an operations specialist with the district. Ryan Bush has been promoted to operations specialist and is now training with Nelson.

Nelson has seen decades of change at both the district and in the community. When she was first hired, there were two ambulance stations: one in Vail and one in Edwards. Four paramedics were scheduled per day. There are now five stations and as many as 17 paramedics on shift per day.

Nelson was the first paramedic to take maternity leave. In a time when the law didn’t guarantee she would have a job to return to after having her daughter, Nelson said she was nervous about her prospects. She returned to the job and moved into an administrative role in 2008.

Nelson has also been an integral part of the district during many others’ careers. Jim Bradford, currently CEO / COO, remembers riding with Nelson when he was a brand new EMT student.

“Kim has been a trainer, mentor and supervisor for me and many others over the last 20-ish years,” Bradford said. “She has made many significant contributions to the district and I would not be the paramedic and leader I am without her help”.

The operations specialist is a supervisor-level position responsible for managing many of the behind-the-scenes processes that are vital and necessary to support the district and ensure that field staff has the tools and supplies to provide exceptional care to the community. Duties include supervising part-time staff; monitoring, overseeing and managing medications and medical supplies; overseeing credentialing including professional audits and serving as COVID logistics chief, among other responsibilities.

Incoming operations specialist Bush served eight years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear submarine officer deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the high seas. Although home ported in both San Diego and Pearl Harbor, the beaches of the Vail Valley could not keep him away. He continued his dedication to public service, expanding his appetite for emergency medicine and customer service with Beaver Creek Ski Patrol and nurtured a passion to provide skilled, professional and compassionate emergency medical services to Eagle County. Hired as an EMT and serving the community as a paramedic for many years, he now intends to employ his educational background in healthcare to promote quality and value-based health care operations.

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