Sharlea Baumeister

Pewaukee, WI

There’s a lot I’m not willing or ready to let go of. I even still have the teddy bear that my father gave me the day I was born. Another thing that means a lot to me is my old EMT shirt. I am currently working as a paramedic and I remember going through EMT years ago and being so overly excited about everything I was learning. This shirt is fluorescent yellow and somewhat obnoxious, but the experiences I’ve had come back to me every time I see this garment or that color.

I responded to my very first 911 call in this same shirt. That to me it is a huge deal: that I changedor even potentially saved someone’s life in this article of clothing. The number of times I took off in the middle of lunch, or from a dead sleep to sprint to my car wearing this shirt to respond to someone’s crisis are uncountable. It was in this shirt that I decided exactly what I wanted to do with my life, become a full-time firefighter paramedic. It may be yellow and rough on the eyes, but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters are the experiences I had in it and everything I learned while wearing it.

Today it may be a cut-off used for sleeping and working out, but that doesn’t change the feeling I get when I wear it. The fact that I learned how to save a life is awesome. The fact that I have something I wore during the process is even better. Not everyone understands why I would want to keep such an old, grubby-looking shirt. However, not everyone had the experiences I had while wearing it. This shirt made me who I am today and guided several of my life choices.

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