Working in Clark County: Rick Futrell: Paramedic

By Mary Ricks, Columbian news assistant

Published:

 

WORKING IN CLARK COUNTY

Working in Clark County, a brief profile of interesting Clark County business owners or a worker in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: mary.ricks@columb...; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

Rick Futrell is often in the middle of chaos and tragedy. Given the nickname “Iceman” because of his calm demeanor, he likes having a part in helping the sick and injured. He has worked as a police officer, firefighter and paramedic. “It’s not the money.” Futrell adds, “I feel like I am accomplishing something in life.”

Name: Rick Futrell.

Job/employer: Currently senior lead paramedic with American Medical Response. He has also worked as a police officer, fireman, assisted in dive rescues and was a bailiff in Battle Ground.

Age: 60.

Education/professional background: During the 1970s, my brother and I loved both the television series “One Adam 12” and “Emergency.” After high school, we wanted those kind of jobs, too. My brother became a police officer and I became an emergency medical technician.

I had training in emergency medical services and started my career in 1974 in downtown Los Angeles. It was quite an eye-opening experience and extremely hectic. Two years later, a job opened up in Clark County and I moved here. The pace was much slower.

My first paramedic training began when I attended the first program offered at Chemeketa College in Salem, Ore. My education includes training in management at Clark College, EMS management training at the National Fire Academy, FEMA management and paramedic preceptor training at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

My police training was with Clark County Sheriff's Office's Reserve Officer Training program.

When I was a training officer at Central, the students gave me the nickname "Iceman" for my calm demeanor in the middle of tragedy.

I worked as a paramedic for the Clark County Fire Department, Fire District 4, Fire District 11 and the city of Battle Ground from 1976 to 1999. I continued as a paramedic for several different ambulance companies, some of which no longer exist. I also was a reserve police officer for Battle Ground from 1980 to 1993. During that time, I was the first bike police officer in Battle Ground and later the first bike medic for Clark County Fire District 11.

Awards: Futrell was presented the Star of Life award from the American Ambulance Association in 1994. He was among 20 people from throughout the nation to receive the award in Washington, D.C.

Futrell was honored in Vancouver at the Red Cross' annual Real Heroes Breakfast in 2000 for his heroic efforts on a SWAT call. Futrell risked his own safety to assist a man who had been shot in the chest.

Residence: Cascade Park.

One word to describe yourself: Willing.

Most rewarding part of job: Having a part in helping the sick and injured.

Most challenging part of job: Keeping up with all the requirements, such as continuing education and training classes.

Most tragic call: On the last call of the day, we were sent to an auto accident. I was the first unit on the scene and as soon as I arrived, I realized that it was my sister in the car. She had been hit by a car driven by a girl who was texting. My sister was in critical condition. She was in the hospital for two weeks and then in a nursing home almost six months.

My favorite stop as a police officer: Playing a prank on my father. With lights flashing on my patrol car, I stopped my dad one night. Keeping a light in his eyes, I requested his identification. He didn't recognize me until I said the reason for the stop was because he was my dad.

Personal/business philosophy: Treat others as you would want someone to treat you.

Something you would like to do over: Nothing. I am still doing what I want to do.

Best feature of my Vancouver/Clark County community: The best feature of Vancouver is all the history of the city.

What would make your community a better place: Improved services and more community involvement.

Favorite restaurant: Happy hour at Beaches Restaurant.

Hobbies: I like riding my Harley-Davidson motorcycle and am a member of the Harley Owners Group. I also like driving my 1990 Corvette, playing the guitar and scuba diving.

Volunteer activities: I did quite a bit of volunteering when my children were young.

Favorite travel destination: The Caribbean for scuba diving.

Most interesting play/movie/arts event: My favorite movie is "Forrest Gump." I also liked "We Were Soldiers." The most interesting book I have read is the Bible.

One thing you want to do this year: I want to go to Omaha Beach in France.

Something you want to do within five years: Retire.

Person you'd most like to meet: I was glad I got to meet former Oregon governor and senator Sen. Mark O. Hatfield.