IRVINE, Ky. (LEX 18) — An Estill County woman is being recognized as a 'Community Star' by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) on the 11th annual National Rural Health Day.
The day celebrates rural health care providers who work through unique challenges daily to provide quality healthcare to their communities.
Irvine-native Shelia Wise was selected to receive the 'Community Star' honor, which spotlights those who dedicate their lives to rural health. Wise has worked as a paramedic at Estill County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for more than 20 years.
“I am extremely humbled and never dreamed that it would be something anybody would ever recognize, especially on a national level,” Wise said. “I just enjoy being a part of the community, and doing what I love the best is taking care of people.”
Wise is an accountant turned paramedic.
She said in 1992, she started working as an EMT in Lexington on the weekends. In 1997, she became a certified paramedic.
By 2000, Wise left the accounting world behind to work full-time at Estill County EMS. She continues making a difference there today.
“It’s a legacy she’s leaving behind,” said Jimmie Wise, the Estill EMS Director and also Shelia's husband. “Her dedication goes beyond almost everybody else’s.”
Shelia Wise holds nearly every instructor certification available in the EMS field, which she uses to train the county’s first responders.
Wise is a serving member of the region’s Overdose Task Force and a medical liaison to the county coroner’s office.
She is also constantly searching for new technologies the department can incorporate to help first responders save lives.
“The big myth is that rural care is not good, quality care. It can be, but you have to work for it and we’ve worked for it and we’ve worked hard,” Wise said. “Anybody can have it if they want it. They just have to go after it and that’s what we’ve done.”
To find out more about National Rural Health Day, you can visit here.