A Squamish critical care flight paramedic features prominently in a just-released, Thanksgiving-themed Volkswagen Canada marketing campaign honouring front-line workers.
Local Scott Ramey was chosen during a cross-country search for Canadian Volkswagen owners who "went above and beyond to help others during COVID-19."
Out of about 1,000 nominations, 18 were chosen and then surprised with messages of thanks from loved ones and supporters. They were also given a personalized gift.
This is the third annual "Volksgiving" campaign by Volkswagen Canada.
"Scott Ramey... quite literally saved lives through his dangerous, high-risk job. As a result, he's spent long stretches of time away from his family and has been unable to meet his new grandchild. Volkswagen gifted a surprise family reunion for Scott to reconnect with his extended family," reads the Volkswagen release.
Ramey's daughter and her family, with his two grandchildren, live in Toronto. He hasn't seen them in a year.
Ramey, 48, told The Chief that he and his work partner both own the same type of Volkswagen, a Golf SportWagen.
"I got the email from Volkswagen, asking to nominate people who were on the front lines during COVID, who were making a difference," Ramey recalled.
"I nominated my work partner, Mathew, and didn't realize that someone had nominated me as well... For some reason, they chose me."
(Due to the convention of government gag orders during the provincial election period for all government agencies, Ramey is not permitted to name his employer.)
Ramey and the other participants in the marketing campaign thought they were being filmed to discuss being first responders, but then the interview was halted and a video shown.
"They kind of caught me off guard. They had this massive video of all my family and friends and co-workers — past and present," Ramey said. "It was pretty humbling."
Another cool aspect was that much of the crew of the shoot were Squamish folks.
"It is kind of amazing how all that came together locally," he said.
Ramey was also gifted a stay with his family at Ontario's Blue Mountain Resort to enable them to reunite.
But Ramey said that, like most first responders, he doesn't see his role as anything particularly special.
"We are just doing our job and don't expect any special sort of recognition or anything. It is part of what we do and part of what we have always gone and done. We understand the risks and the benefits and we weigh those things out. I guess we risk a little to help a lot," he said, adding that he doesn't want the focus on just him, personally.
"I am super grateful for the recognition, but overall, it is an entire system. I can't go to work day-to-day without the partners who I work with; without the other paramedics and all the other healthcare people, we work with... For me, any personal recognition I receive, I take it jointly, with everybody else I work with."
Ramey started his career as a first responder 30 years ago, in Toronto when he was 18.
He went from living in the suburbs to working in the heart of the metropolis as a land paramedic.
"It was really eye-opening," he said.
He later became a critical care flight paramedic in Ontario.
"I am the first one to actually come to B.C. to get qualified directly across as a critical care paramedic," he noted.
"That opportunity didn't really exist, but somehow I managed to make that happen and transfer all my skills and knowledge over to British Columbia."
He came to Squamish two and a half years ago.
As for takeaways from his many years as a first responder, Ramey waxes philosophical.
"It is about the here and now and living in the moment and being grateful for what you have," he said.
"The one thing that we see, it doesn't matter whether it is trauma or a virus, you can be here one second and gone the next."
The Volkswagen Canada "Volksgiving 2020, Answering the Call," can be found on YouTube.