By Audrey Fraizer
Nothing like a tiny, little, almost imperceptible white lie to persuade busy people to change their schedules to fit yours at the last moment.
But in the event the busy people are being honored: priceless.
“I wanted to see the ACE awards then bug out a few minutes early for a meeting,” Vicki Maguire said. “Pam (Stewart) and Lou (Ganley) were not going to let that happen. They would have handcuffed us if necessary.”
Although in retrospect something odd was afloat, Maguire agreed to stay and took a seat in back of the room with her other Academy half, Susi Marsan. But even before the ACE presentation on Wednesday, April 17, Jeff Clawson, M.D., took the stage, which was not the first clue Maguire and Marsan managed to miss.
“It came together when he mentioned the two ladies he met in the 1980s and how they became instrumental [to the Academy] in leading our curriculum boards,” Maguire said. “He was talking about us.”
Maguire and Marsan are recipients of the Academy’s Emeritus Award, which is not presented every year. They walked from the back of the room toward the stage in that surreal way movie stars and producers must feel when accepting their Oscars.
“My mind went blank,” Maguire said. “If I’d had my wits about me, I’d have asked every instructor and everybody using protocol to stand because of the great contributions they all make. There would have been no one sitting.”
“It was so humbling,” Marsan said. “I actually cried.”
The two met close to 25 years ago when, at the time, they were among less than a dozen instructors mentored by Dr. Clawson and former Academy consultant Scott Hauert to teach EMD courses. The protocol was beginning to find its way into centers worldwide, creating a demand surpassing available troops and forcing the addition of troops less attuned to EMD educational standards.
“The direction had stretched,” Marsan explained. “There were a lot of things happening and several of the original instructors were concerned about the lack of consistency in curriculum. We wanted to be part of the solution.”
The driving force of their passion carved permanent places in the Academy. They agreed to “hammer out” a standard EMD curriculum and over the years, they have continued to assist in curriculum refinement and development.
Maguire said Marsan is a prime motivator in the classroom.
“I get up on my soapbox,” Marsan said. “It’s my chance to inspire. From the start, we believed in what Dr. Clawson was doing. Protocol has a major impact on people’s lives. We impact people on every single call and if someone doesn’t want that opportunity, they shouldn’t be in the profession.”
Marsan said Maguire is the consummate instructor.
“The people we train will be in the position to save a life,” Maguire said. “And in some small way, by teaching the classes, I have helped. I can still make a difference.”
The two are nearly inseparable when attending NAVIGATOR. They share the same “passion” for the protocol systems, they each have 25+ years in the 9-1-1 profession, and they relish the opportunity to spread the protocol message through the spoken and written word.
“We’ve been doing this together so long, we can answer to each other’s names,” Maguire said. “People get us mixed up all the time.”
For those who might confuse Maguire and Marsan as full-time Academy staff, they are not. It only appears that way. They are volunteers and serve on the College of Fellows. Maguire is the Medical Board of Curriculum chair and Marsan is the ETC Board of Curriculum chair. They’ve held numerous other positions.
In the day-to-day, bread-and-butter existence, Maguire is the director of communications for American Medical Response (AMR) in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Marsan is training coordinator at Grady Hospital EMS System in Atlanta, Ga.
Neither has a plan to retire anytime soon, if at all.
“We’re not going anywhere, and I think I can speak for Vicki, too,” Marsan said. “We share total confidence in the Academy, where it has been, and where it will go from here. It’s at the core of our beliefs.”