Thomasville-- A Thomas County paramedic, injured on the job, has died. Thirty-seven year old Jeff Harris broke his ankle at work Saturday. That night, he stopped breathing in the middle of the night and died.
There's a special bond held between EMT's and ER nurses. "We have a really close relationship. Because we have to work so close together," said Wendy Smith, a registered nurse at Archbold Hospital. That could not have been more true, than with Harris. "Being a paramedic turns the patient over to us. He would always stay and help especially if it was a critical traumatic patient. He would always stay to help the nurses," said Smith.
Also engaged to an ER nurse, Harris considered the staff here a second family. "I wasn't here but I got a phone call that they went out to Jeff's house, he wasn't breathing and that I needed to come to the hospital," said another Archbold nurse, Cristy Brooks.
"Its been very humbling to all of us because in our situation you get to where you think, this can't happen to us. We're here to save lives," said Smith. Harris' passion for saving lives was an inspiration to everyone he worked with. "I don't think anyone here could say they haven't learned something from Jeff," said Lieutenant Pam Adams, a long-time friend co-worker of Harris.
Today his co-workers wore orange and blue as a reminder of his favorite team, the Florida Gators. Reminders of Harris will come often for those who loved him. " Every time we see a uniform, an ambulance, hear the tones go off, we'll all think about him," said Smith. "We dedicated this truck, which is the lieutenants truck to Jeff, we have his number now, posted on the truck," said Adams.
As an organ donor, Harris' passion for saving lives won't stop with his death. "I do know that they were able to donate his heart. And someone is getting a good heart. Because he had a big heart," said Brooks.
Harris's funeral is Sunday at 1st Methodist Church in Thomasville with a memorial service afterward at Thomas County EMS.