Jeffrey Schaffer, emergency medical service captain for Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company, is so busy helping to keep others breathing, he rarely has time to catch his own breath.
For all of Schaffer's 27 years in emergency medical service -- he devotes 30 to 40 hours a week -- the 45-year-old volunteer will be named Carroll County's EMS Provider of the Year by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems at its annual "Maryland's Best" awards ceremony today in Baltimore.
MIEMSS, the state agency that oversees emergency services, is honoring about a dozen individuals and about 15 agencies that offer emergency services in nine Maryland counties and Gettysburg, Pa.
In addition to his role at Pleasant Valley, Schaffer maintains membership in Pikesville, where he began volunteer service as a firefighter in 1972 and began EMS service in 1974.
He lives near Littlestown, Pa., where he is a volunteer paramedic.
Schaffer works full time at the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn, where he oversees 26 cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructors who teach CPR techniques to 700 to 800 employees each year. He also works part time as a paramedic in Manchester and Westminster.
He was elected president of the Carroll County Volunteer Ambulance Association in March after serving as vice president last year.
He co-chairs the Carroll County Medical Advisory Board, which reviews complaints and acts as a liaison between Carroll County General Hospital and EMS providers.
At the state level, Schaffer serves as the Critical Incident Stress Management coordinator for MIEMSS.
"My wife says all my EMS involvement does not qualify me for an award as Husband of the Year or Father of the Year," Schaffer said yesterday.
Schaffer estimated he answered between 320 and 400 emergency ambulance calls last year and taught CPR or first aid to about 500 firefighters and residents.
"I want it clear that I earn money for some of the teaching, but what I teach firefighters is done as a volunteer," he said. "I just want to pass on the knowledge I have gained over 20 plus years, so someone will be there when we old-timers get out [of volunteer service]."
Debbie, his wife, is a volunteer CPR instructor, and Schaffer said their 17-year-old son will graduate from high school in two weeks and wants to study sports medicine.
Schaffer said Carroll County is filled with "others who do as much as I do. A lot of them deserve this award more than I do. It's a commitment for life and becomes a way of life for anyone involved in emergency service."
Pub Date: 5/18/99