Bridgewater's Jonathan Pippy doesn't have to think hard about the best moments of his 23-year career as a paramedic.
"Being able to deliver a child in the field," he told LighthouseNOW.
"Just simply being there to witness the birth of a child. It's phenomenal. Of course I was there for my own, but it's pretty rewarding when you're able to be there for another family. And help them bring another life into the world."
He should know. Pippy has helped deliver five babies on the job.
Earlier this month he and fellow Bridgewater paramedic, Robin Rowsell, received a reward of another kind.
The two were among 13 paramedics in Nova Scotia to be awarded the Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Services Medal.
Lt.-Gov. Arthur J. LeBlanc presented the medals during a ceremony at Government House in Halifax November 3.
"This medal recognizes the professionalism, commitment and dedication of Nova Scotia's outstanding paramedics," Lt.-Gov. LeBlanc said in a news release. "On behalf of Her Majesty The Queen and all Nova Scotians, it is my honour to recognize the vital contribution of the men and women who are always there to respond in a medical crisis."
For Roswell, a paramedic for the past 28 years, the award came as a complete surprise.
"To be honest with you I knew very little about the award because I never expected, in time, that I would be nominated," he said.
Queen Elizabeth created the Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal in 1994 and it is part of a national recognition program for people who work in high-risk jobs helping to keep Canadians safe.
Police, firefighters, corrections officers, coast guard members and peace officers are also eligible.
Their peers or the public can nominate paramedics. Recipients must have demonstrated exemplary service in their careers for at least 20 years, including 10 years in an emergency medical services position that involves potential risk.
"It's quite a process," to be chosen, according to Lawrence Briand, chair of the Nova Scotia Awards Committee and an operations supervisor for Emergency Health Services. He noted that nominees are vetted by the provincial and national awards committee, as well as the Chancellery of Honours.
According to Pippy, he first got the "bug" about working as a paramedic watching shows such as Emergency when he was growing up. He went on to volunteer with the Shelburne Fire Department for nine years and follow in his brother's footsteps into the paramedic field.
"I've always been a person that's loved to help people and get involved," he says.
Rowsell told LighthouseNOW he loves his work. "It gives me a sense of worth and [the ability] to help somebody along."
While Rowsell notes that every paramedic has that one call "that haunts them throughout their career," he emphasizes that being a paramedic isn't just about "trauma treatment.
"Sometimes it's just a matter of holding a hand and reassuring an elderly person that is scared out of their wits for what they're going through. And you know, just explaining to them, and helping them to understand. It really takes them a long way," says Rowsell.